The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

World, nation, state

January 29, 2013

Soldier looks forward to driving with new arms

BALTIMORE — A soldier who lost all four limbs in a roadside bombing in Iraq says he’s looking forward to driving and swimming with new arms after undergoing a double-arm transplant.

“I just want to get the most out of these arms, and just as goals come up, knock them down and take it absolutely as far as I can,” Brendan Marrocco said Tuesday.

The 26-year-old New Yorker spoke at a news conference at Johns Hopkins Hospital, where he was joined by surgeons who performed the operation.

After he was wounded, Marrocco said, he felt fine using prosthetic legs, but he hated not having arms.

“You talk with your hands, you do everything with your hands, basically, and when you don’t have that, you’re kind of lost for a while,” he said.

Marrocco said his chief desire is to drive the black Dodge Charger that’s been sitting in his garage for three years.

“I used to love to drive,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to just getting back to that, and just becoming an athlete again.”

Although he doesn’t expect to excel at soccer, his favorite sport, Marrocco said he’d like to swim and compete in a marathon using a handcycle.

Marrocco joked that military service members sometimes regard themselves as poorly paid professional athletes. His good humor and optimism are among the qualities doctors cited as signs he will recover much of his arm and hand use in two to three years.

“He’s a young man with a tremendous amount of hope, and he’s stubborn — stubborn in a good way,” said Dr. Jaimie Shores, the hospital’s clinical director of hand transplantation. “I think the sky’s the limit.”

Shores said Marrocco has already been trying to use his hands, although he lacks feeling in the fingers, and he’s eager to do more as the slow-growing nerves and muscles mend.

“I suspect that he will be using his hands for just about everything as we let him start trying to do more and more. Right now, we’re the ones really kind of holding him back at this point,” Shores said.

The procedure was only the seventh double-hand or double-arm transplant ever done in the United States.

The infantryman was injured by a roadside bomb in 2009. He is the first soldier to survive losing all four limbs in the Iraq War.

Marrocco also received bone marrow from the same donor to minimize the medicine needed to prevent rejection. He said he didn’t know much about the donor but “I’m humbled by their gift.”

The 13-hour operation on Dec. 18 was led by Dr. W.P. Andrew Lee, plastic surgery chief at Hopkins.

Marrocco was being released from the hospital Tuesday but will receive intensive therapy for two years at Hopkins and then at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda.

After a major surgery, human nerves regenerate at a rate of an inch per month, Lee said.

“The progress will be slow, but the outcome will be rewarding,” he added.

1
Text Only
World, nation, state
  • Planes with Ukraine bodies arrive in Netherlands

    Two more military aircraft carrying remains of victims from the Malaysian plane disaster arrived in the Netherlands on Thursday, while Australian and Dutch diplomats joined to promote a plan for a U.N. team to secure the crash site which has been controlled by pro-Russian rebels.

    July 24, 2014

  • UN school in Gaza caught in cross-fire; 15 killed

    A U.N. school in Gaza crowded with hundreds of Palestinians seeking refuge from fierce fighting came under fire Thursday, killing at least 15 civilians and leaving a sad tableau of blood-spattered pillows, blankets and children’s clothing scattered in the courtyard.

    July 24, 2014

  • Air Algerie jet with 116 on board crashes in Mali

    An Air Algerie jetliner carrying 116 people crashed Thursday in a rainstorm over restive Mali, and its wreckage was found near the border of neighboring Burkina Faso — the third major international aviation disaster in a week.

    July 24, 2014

  • Troubled childhoods may prompt men to volunteer for military service

    In the era of the all-volunteer U.S. military, men who served are more than twice as likely as those who never did to have been sexually abused as children and to have grown up around domestic violence and substance abuse, a new study has found.

    July 24, 2014

  • As poverty continues to rise, fewer Ohioans are receiving state aid

    The number of Ohioans receiving public assistance continues to drop even while poverty increases, raising questions about how the state helps the poor.

    July 24, 2014

  • ’Saltwater’ from fracking spill much different from ocean water

    In early July, a million gallons of salty drilling waste spilled from a pipeline onto a steep hillside in western North Dakota’s Fort Berthold Reservation. The waste — a byproduct of oil and gas production — has now reached a tributary of Lake Sakakawea, which provides drinking water to the reservation.

    July 24, 2014

  • 40 bodies from jet solemnly returned to Dutch soil

    Victims of the Malaysian jetliner shot down over Ukraine returned at last Wednesday to Dutch soil in 40 wooden coffins, solemnly and gently carried to 40 identical hearses, flags at half-staff flapping in the wind.

    July 23, 2014

  • U.S. pushes for truce as Gaza battle rages

    The United States announced signs of progress in cease-fire talks Wednesday, but prospects for a quick end to the fighting were dim as Palestinian families fled fierce battles in southern Gaza and the death toll rose to more than 700 Palestinians and 34 Israelis.

    July 23, 2014

  • GROUNDED U.S., other countries ban flights to and from Israel

    A Hamas rocket exploded Tuesday near Israel’s main airport, prompting a ban on all flights from the U.S. and many from Europe and Canada as aviation authorities responded to the shock of seeing a civilian jetliner shot down over Ukraine.

    July 23, 2014

  • REPORT: Retaliation by supervisors common at VA

    A pharmacy supervisor at the VA was placed on leave after complaining about errors and delays in delivering medications to patients at a hospital in Palo Alto, California. In Pennsylvania, a doctor was removed from clinical work after complaining that on-call doctors were refusing to go to a VA hospital in Wilkes-Barre.

    July 22, 2014

House Ads
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video