BALTIMORE (AP) — After weeks of round-the-clock medical care, Brendan Marrocco insisted on rolling his own wheelchair into a news conference using his new transplanted arms. Then he brushed his hair to one side.
Such simple tasks would go unnoticed in most patients. But for Marrocco, who lost all four limbs while serving in Iraq, these little actions demonstrate how far he's come only six weeks after getting a double-arm transplant.
Wounded by a roadside bomb in 2009, the former soldier said he could get by without legs, but he hated living without arms.
"Not having arms takes so much away from you. Even your personality, you know. You talk with your hands. You do everything with your hands, and when you don't have that, you're kind of lost for a while," the 26-year-old New Yorker told reporters today at a news conference at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
Doctors don't want him using his new arms too much yet, but his gritty determination to regain independence was one of the chief reasons he was chosen to receive the surgery, which has been performed in the U.S. only seven times.