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Two More Hand Transplants Slated For Early 2012

The leader of the hand transplant program at Louisville’s Jewish Hospital says two more procedures have been approved and will likely be performed early next year. Dr. Joseph Kutz says the first of the two transplants could take place in January or February.Seven patients have received hand transplants since the Jewish Hospital program was launched in 1999 Kutz says it’s unclear right now exactly how many more operations will take place next year."It depends a lot upon finances, because as you know this is experimental, and is supported by the services, first the Navy then the Army. And with their own budget problems, it’s a wait-and-see as far as any additional finances down the line," Kutz said. The most recent transplant recipient is Donnie Rickelman (pictured with Dr. Kutz) of Linton, Indiana, who received a new left hand three months ago and is doing well.

Rick Howlett is host of WFPL's weekly talk show, "In Conversation." Email Rick at rhowlett@lpm.org.