German farmer doing well after world's first double arm transplant

MUNICH, Germany (AP) -- A German farmer who who lost his arms in an accident six years ago has received the world's first complete double arm transplant.

Karl Merk says when he woke from surgery, he at first couldn't believe the transplant had been successful. But he says that gave way to joy, when he saw he had arms again.

Wearing a sleeveless black shirt that clearly showed where his new arms had been grafted, Merk told the reporters in Munich, "These are my arms, and I'm not giving them away again."

Merk underwent the 15-hour operation three months ago, and has remained in therapy at the Munich University Clinic since.

Doctors say there are indications of nerve growth in the arms, but it could take up to two years before he relearns how to use his hands.

Merk can perform simple tasks such as opening doors and turning lights on and off. His ultimate goals are to eat and dress himself -- and ride a motorcycle.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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