Double arm transplant recipient thanks doctors in Boston, Will Lautzenheiser with both arms still in partial casts on Tuesday — said at a news conference he’s grateful to the anonymous donor who ‘will always be as close to me as my own skin.’
“To receive this gift is astonishing and life-changing,” Lautzenheiser said as he thanked the medical team Tuesday. “This is a matter of trust, and I trust all the doctors here with my life, literally, and I just had faith that it would work.”
The double-arm transplant took place in October and involved a team of 35 people including 13 surgeons. The operation took just under nine hours, Dr. Matthew Carty said.
“We expect the function of his new limbs to improve over the course of the next several years,” Carty said. “We are honored to share in his joy today and thrilled to think what his future may hold.”
The director of the New England Organ Bank read a letter from the donor’s family, who asked to remain anonymous.
“Our son gave the best hugs. We pray you make a wonderful recovery and your loved ones will be able to enjoy your warm embrace,” said Richard Luskin, of the New England Organ Bank.
Lautzenheiser taught film production and screenwriting at BU and Montana State University and is currently a comedian.
“I’m looking forward to holding my niece, being able to be back in the kitchen” he said this summer when the transplant was approved.
Brigham and Women’s and the New England Organ Bank then searched for an appropriate donor for Lautzenheiser.
“What that family has to give is tremendous,” Lautzenheiser said at the time. “They also can consider it a way, I hope, for their loved one to live on.”