Staten Island Vet Receives Double Arm Transplant

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A Staten Island veteran who lost his arms and legs to a roadside bomb in Iraq in 2009 has received a dual arm transplant at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland.

Twenty-six-year-old Brendan Marrocco joined his doctors at a news conference on Tuesday, to talk about the surgery and his plans for recovery. He said the first thing he wants to do is drive, and eventually get back to sports like hand-cycling and swimming.

“I hated not having arms. I was alright with not having legs,” Marrocco explained. “Not having arms takes so much away from you, even your personality. You talk with your hands … when you don’t have that, you’re kind of lost for a while.”

Doctors said Marrocco’s sense of humor and determination made him a good candidate for the surgery, which is only the seventh double-hand transplant performed in the U.S. And they said his “fighting spirit” will serve him well on the road to recovery. He’s expected to undergo about six hours of therapy a day, as nerves re-grow in his arms.

Marrocco expressed gratitude to his medical team, and family and friends who supported him. He also expressed great pride in his decision to join the military.

“It was truly the best decision I ever made … still the way I see it,” he said.