Going Out on a Limb

Louisville doctors announce the first successful hand transplant before they even lift a scalpel

Pioneering surgeons used to wait until after the operation before claiming their 15 minutes of fame. Not anymore. In Louisville last week a team of doctors announced their intention to perform "the world's first successful hand transplant"--using a limb from a fresh cadaver--before lifting a scalpel or even picking a patient.

As expected, the statement elicited a flurry of second opinions. "It would be revolutionary," said Dr. Neil Jones, chief of hand surgery at UCLA Medical Center, who acknowledged that the Kentucky doctors are among the best in the business. But would the transplant take? "Based on what we know of...

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