By Army Medicine Public AffairsFebruary 12, 2013
FALLS CHURCH, Va. (Feb. 12, 2013) -- Lt. Gen. Patricia D. Horoho, Army Surgeon General and Commanding General of U. S. Army Medical Command, met with former Sgt. Brendan Marrocco, the Army's first Soldier to survive after "giving" all four limbs in combat, Feb. 11, at the Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore.
During this visit Horoho also met with Dr. W.P. Andrew Lee, the plastic surgery chief at Johns Hopkins, who led the team that conducted the limb transplant surgery on Marrocco.
Marrocco was wounded by an improvised explosive device in Iraq in 2009. He said that he could get by without legs, but hated living without arms. Marrocco is one of only 60 patients worldwide to receive a double-arm transplant and only the seventh double-hand or double-arm transplant in the U.S.
The ground-breaking procedure was the most complicated to-date, taking more than 13 hours and involving 16 orthopedic and microvascular surgeons from five hospitals.
"Just not to give up hope. You know, life always gets better, and you're still alive," was his advice to other wounded warriors during a recent press conference according to the Associated Press. "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."
Lee said the new arms could eventually provide much of the same function as Marrocco's original arms and hands. Marrocco, a former infantrymen who is now separated from the Army, said he can already move his left elbow and rotate it some.
"Meeting with this 21st century Warrior today reminds me of why I got involved with medicine in the first place," said Horoho. "Sergeant Marrocco's story is the story of sacrifice, determination, and personal resiliency. His recovery has involved countless medical professionals dedicated to improving care for our wounded warriors. I am fortunate to have met such a remarkable Soldier, thankful for those that have cared for him, and proud to be a part of the Army Medicine team."