- Smile: Equipping cops with body-mounted cameras gains steam in Calif., N.Y.
- Obama to sign bill cutting taxpayer money for party conventions
- Half of Americans worried about second Cold War: poll
- Kermit Gosnell clinic aide who heard aborted baby scream gets 5 to 10 years in prison
- Iraq mulls law to let men marry 8-year-old girls
- Russia sends bombers on 24-hour Arctic patrol
- Sam Adams beer brewer nixes St. Patrick’s parade that won’t allow gays
- Houston dad kills boy, 17, in daughter’s room in mistaken ID tragedy
- Rep. David Jolly ready to work with Democrats on compromise
- Joe Biden: I can’t be president — my golf would suffer
Soldier with new arms determined to be independent
BALTIMORE (AP) - After weeks of round-the-clock medical care, Brendan Marrocco insisted on rolling his own wheelchair into a news conference using his new transplanted arms. Then he brushed his hair to one side.
Such simple tasks would go unnoticed in most patients. But for Marrocco, who lost all four limbs while serving in Iraq, these little actions demonstrate how far he’s come only six weeks after getting a double-arm transplant.
Wounded by a roadside bomb in 2009, the former soldier said he could get by without legs, but he hated living without arms.
“Not having arms takes so much away from you. Even your personality, you know. You talk with your hands. You do everything with your hands, and when you don’t have that, you’re kind of lost for a while,” the 26-year-old New Yorker told reporters Tuesday at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
Doctors don’t want him using his new arms too much yet, but his gritty determination to regain independence was one of the chief reasons he was chosen to receive the surgery, which has been performed in the U.S. only seven times.
That’s the message Marrocco said he has for other wounded soldiers.
“Just not to give up hope. You know, life always gets better, and you’re still alive,” he said. “And to be stubborn. There’s a lot of people who will say you can’t do something. Just be stubborn and do it anyway. Work your ass off and do it.”
Dr. W.P. Andrew Lee, head of the team that conducted the surgery, said the new arms could eventually provide much of the same function as his original arms and hands. Another double-arm transplant patient can now use chopsticks and tie his shoes.
Tuesday’s news conference was held to mark a milestone in his recovery _ the day he was to be discharged from the hospital.
Next comes several years of rehabilitation, including physical therapy that is going to become more difficult as feeling returns to the arms.
Before the surgery, he had been living with his older brother in a specially equipped home on New York’s Staten Island that had been built with the help of several charities. Shortly after moving in, he said it was “a relief to not have to rely on other people so much.”
The home was heavily damaged by Superstorm Sandy last fall.
“We’ll get it back together. We’ve been through a lot worse than that,” his father, Alex Marrocco, said.
For the next few months, Marrocco plans to live with his brother in an apartment near the hospital.
TWT Video Picks
By Bob Dole
The industrious island has proved itself worthy of U.S. inclusion
- EXCLUSIVE: FBI blocked in corruption probe involving Sens. Reid, Lee
- College group's diversity event canceled after excluding white people
- Sam Adams beer brewer nixes St. Patrick's parade that won't allow gays
- Deportations come mostly from border, DHS chief says
- F-35 secrets now showing up in Chinas stealth fighter
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- MILLER: Law enforcement realizes good people with guns deter crime
- U.S.: Malaysia plane's on-board communications purposely shut down
- BRUCE: The power of bossy
Chaos as Manhattan building explodes
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014