Richard Mangino likes playing the piano and tossing the football with his grand kids. He enjoys taking a swim after mowing the lawn and has learned to paint. These are all normal activities wouldn’t raise many eyebrows until you realize that Richard does this all with two new hands he received in a recent double hand transplant surgery.
In 2002, Mangino developed a severe bloodstream infection and within a few weeks his hands and feet needed to be amputated to save his life. Surgeons put him on the waiting list for a hand transplant and Mangino began adjusting to his life as a quadriplegic. Despite the life-altering event, he remained positive and channeled his energy into creative endeavors, becoming an avid painter and even a pianist using his prosthetic limbs.
Nine years after losing his hands, Mangino underwent 12 hours of surgery performed by a team of over 40 surgeons, nurses, and support staff at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He awoke to find two new hands and a new world of possibilities. It has been four years since this unprecedented surgery and Mangino has made incredible progress.
“The new normal is just the way that I am,” said Mangino in an interview with WCVB in Boston. “I don’t notice what I have or what I don’t have. I’m just doing all these things now,” said Mangino.
For Mangino, that means more than simple daily tasks. He is playing the piano, drawing, and even writing again, this time not with prosthetics but his own two hands. He continues to gain sensation and function in his hands through ongoing rehabilitation exercises and is working towards his ultimate goal of playing the guitar again: “Maybe I’ll try it at some point, but I’m happy with the piano, although you miss those riffs.”
Richard Mangino’s story–and the medical advances that changed his life–are truly inspirational. Want to see more stories about exciting advances in medical research and treatment? Check out our posts about how neuroscientists discovered the phenomenon of “invisible hands” and the surprising impact of 3D technology on foot care.Back to PainFreeHands