2004 - Volume #28, Issue #5, Page #21[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Swapped Hands Haven't Stopped Illinois Farmer
Because of the severity of the injury to his left arm, Henry's doctors at the Southern Illinois School of Medicine in Springfield, Ill., decided the best thing to do would be to attach his left hand to his right arm.
After a long period of healing, Henry had to retrain his brain to work with the reversed fingers and thumb. Now, nearly 20 years later, he can do most farm jobs, including handling bags of seed and driving tractor with the help of spinners on the steering wheels.
At the time of the accident Henry wasn't married. Later he met and married his wife, Jill, and they are now the parents of four children. They live on a farm that has been in his family for more than 150 years.
In addition to raising corn and soybeans on his Macon County farm, Henry has a small herd of beef cattle which he sells by the quarter to local residents. He has a full-time hired man, J.D. McTaggart, who helps run the farm.
Although he is one of only a few people in the world who have ever had a cross-hand transplant, Henry spends no time worrying about his handicap. Instead, he keeps busy. Such as his hobby restoring a tractor built by his grandfather, which is said to be one of the world's first gas-powered tractors. The engine is an Anderson 12 hp with horizontal opposed pistons.
The doctors who did the cross hand transfer, Robert Russell and Elvin Zook, are still in practice in the Springfield, Ill., area.
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