Amputee given gift of arms, hands

By Paula Akana
Published On: Jan 29 2013 05:33:00 PM HST

A former Schofield Barracks soldier talks about life with his new arms and hands, inspires amputees with his attitude.

HONOLULU -

Brendan Marrocco's story is one of bravery and heroism.

He lost both arms and legs in Iraq four years ago.  A roadside bomb blew up the Humvee the Army private was driving.

His attitude is admirable.

"I was still alive so that's really all that mattered to me," said Marrocco.

Still, life without limbs was not the same.

Marroco said, "Not having arms takes so much away from you even... your personality."

So, when doctors at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Maryland approached the 26-year-old about a double arm transplant, he didn't hesitate.

"I've overcome so much in the last four years that I'm honestly not worried about the risks," said Marrocco.

The transplant team in the operating room connected bones, blood vessels, muscles, tendons, nerves and skin.

The surgery was the most complicated and extensive ever performed in the U.S.

The first words Marrocco uttered to his doctors afterward were, "I love you."

Marrocco still does not have the full range of motion, but we watched him wheel himself in to talk to reporters.

"It's like I went back four years and I'm me again," said Marrocco.

He's ready to start living his old life again, like driving the car still parking in his garage.

More importantly, he's starting that positive attitude with other amputees.

Doctors say it'll take two to three years before he can fully use his limbs.

Marrocco is only the seventh person in the U.S. to undergo a successful double hand transplant.

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