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Double hand transplant recipient Jeff Kepner, 57, of Atlanta Ga., right, works with hand therapist Kimberly Maguire after discussing his nine-hour, May 4, 2009 surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in Pittsburgh Thursday, July 16, 2009. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

This man got a double hand transplant, but his new hands have never worked

I can do absolutely nothing. I sit in my chair all day.
Jeff Kepner

Jeff Kepner lost his hands in 1999 from complications from a strep throat infection. Ten years later, he underwent a risky surgery to get new hands attached. The operation seemed successful.

Except for one thing: The new hands never worked.

"From day one, I have never been able to use my hands," Kepner told TIME.  

Kepner said he was told if the surgery didn't work, he could have the new hands removed and use prosthetics. But his doctor, Vijay Gorantla, said that might not work, and he'd have to go through intense physical therapy and multiple surgeries.

"I am not going through all those operations again," Kepner said.

The doctor who performed the transplant, W.P. Andrew Lee, is currently at Johns Hopkins, preparing to perform penis transplants for American veterans. He said that of his four double hand transplant patients, Kepner is the first to have trouble adjusting.

That's the chance you take and that's the chance I took.
Kepner on his surgery

Kepner's family launched a GoFundMe page to help cover the steep medical costs.

He does not criticize the surgeons, however. 

First Bilateral Hand Transplant in a Child: Zion's Story

Last year, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia successfully completed the first double hand transplant on a child, and documented the child's story.

This man got a double hand transplant, but his new hands have never worked

For more news you need, check out our 60 Second Circa for Tuesday AM, July 26, 2016.

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