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Double Arm Transplant Gave Vet New Lease on Life

Veteran News
Veteran News
October 18, 2016
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We are officially living in the future. Quadruple amputee and retired Marine Sgt. John Peck received a gift that is straight out of science fiction; a successful double-arm transplant.Soon, he'll be able to open doors with round handles and feel the hands of loved ones. Small things that we take for granted, until we are unable to do them ourselves.Gratitude, however, is something that John feels almost overwhelmed by."That truly is a precious gift," he said of his new mobility and future prospects, tears in his eyes. The 31-year-old veteran underwent the transplant surgery in August, and has been performing well in physical therapy since. Doctors say that his new arms will allow him to feel, grasp, and hold things in ways that current prosthetic limbs just can't manage right now.In 2010, Peck's life changed forever when he stepped on an explosive in Afghanistan. He lost all of his limbs from the blast. And that wasn't his first experience with injury. He also toured in Iraq previously, and suffered a traumatic brain injury there. He is the recipient of two purple hearts for his actions.Peck had been using prosthetic limbs for several years, but in 2014, after a flurry of testing, he was finally approved for surgery. His new arms would come from another young man, a man who died young.


"I will love him every day and will respect his life and this gift until the day I die," Peck said of his donor.14 hours of surgery went into outfitting peck with his new arms. Bones, veins, arteries, nerves, muscles, and skin all had to be painstakingly attached. Once the surgery was completed, Peck's road to recovery began.Dr. David Crandall is the medical director of the Amputee Program at Spaulding Rehabilitation Network. Peck has been under his supervision as he recovers and gains new skills daily."In physical therapy, John has been working on his core and shoulder strengthening," he said. "John has been working on functional tasks of daily living including some self-dressing, grooming and teeth brushing."Sensations take a few months to recover, and they may not come back at all. But that hasn't stopped Peck from continuing to pursue his dream of becoming a chef. His personal culinary hero? "Robert Irvine. He's an awesome chef, he helps people who are in need and he's like a British version of The Hulk!"

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