The Shmooze

Jewish Hospital Live Tweets Hand Transplant Surgery

By Lauren F. Friedman

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Doctors at the Jewish Hospital Hand Care Center in Louisville successfully performed a double-hand transplant earlier this week. As Med City News reported, it was the third double-hand transplant (that’s right: the patient got two new hands) in the U.S. and the first ever to be live-tweeted.

The surgery began at 7pm on Tuesday and took approximately 17.5 hours. All throughout the long and grueling procedure, senior hand fellow Dr. Christiana Savvidou tweeted from a laptop in the hallway outside the operating room. The tweets were all marked with the hashtag #handtx.

Shortly before the prepping began, she wrote: “Want to know how a hand transplant is done? This is your chance — we are live tweeting a double hand transplant 2day.”

The subsequent Twitter updates included “Both donor hands on the table” at around midnight, and then, at around 6am: “Tendon suturing nearing completion. Nerve repair to follow. This includes suturing nerves of each finger from donor to recipient.”

Many tweets and sutures later, at around 3pm on Wednesday, the surgery was complete. The Jewish Hospital had secured its place in medical history, and @jewishhospital had become a Twitter legend.

As for which of the two accomplishment is more significant — it depends who you ask.


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