Double-arm transplant Iraq vet says he now has ‘second chance’

By David Ferguson
Wednesday, January 30, 2013 11:00 EDT
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Brendan Marrocco via screencap
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On Wednesday’s edition of “CBS This Morning,” the program featured a segment on Iraq War veteran and double-arm transplant recipient Brendan Marrocco, who gave a press conference on Tuesday at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore to discuss his recovery and progress.

“I feel like I’m getting a second chance to start over since I got hurt,” he said, after wheeling himself into the room under his own power rather than having to be pushed.

Six weeks ago, Marrocco underwent surgery to receive a pair of arms from an anonymous, deceased donor. The 26-year-old infantryman lost both arms and legs in 2009 when his armored transport was hit by an IED in Iraq. He is the first quadruple amputee soldier in history to survive.

The soldier was fitted with prosthetic legs, but now, in the wake of the 13-hour surgery to attach the donor arms, Marrocco is beginning to have feeling in the new limbs. His recovery is expected to be long and arduous, but doctors are already impressed with his progress.

“Now, I can move my left elbow,” he said. “This was my elbow, the one I had before. I can rotate a little bit.”

Marrocco told CBS in a 2010 interview that doctors initially despaired of his chances of survival.

“I died three times,” he told CBS’ David Martin. “but I came back.”

He spoke then of his determination to return as much as possible to a normal life.

“I will not sit down and let my injuries take over my life. ” he said.

Watch the video, embedded below via Wednesday’s “CBS This Morning”:

David Ferguson
David Ferguson
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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