Surgery: Helping Hand

Though surgeons are transplanting internal organs with increasing frequency, techniques for transplanting limbs from one person to another have rarely been explored. Last week such an operation was performed, with initial success, under unlikely circumstances.

A sailor named Julio Luna Vera, 32, was brought into Ecuador's Clinica Guayaquil with a right hand so shattered by a grenade explosion that amputation was necessary. Dr. Roberto Gilbert Elizalde, 47, who had never done any transplant work, decided to try. He put a tourniquet on Luna's arm and cooled it with cracked ice. He had a donor: a 43-year-old laborer—also named Luna—who lay dying...

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