John Peck, a 31-year-old Marine veteran from Fredericksburg, Virginia, became a quadruple amputee some six years ago, losing his limbs in an explosion in Afghanistan. Now, thanks to an anonymous donor family, and the talented team at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Peck has received a double arm transplant and now has a chance to achieve a lifelong dream: becoming a chef.
"My dream job since I was 12 is to become a chef," the former Marine said at a press conference, adding that he hopes to one day compete on the Next Food Network Star.
According to ABC News, Peck underwent a 14-hour transplant in August under the care of Dr. Simon Talbot, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon at Brigham and Women’s. The veteran’s surgery marked just the fourth double arm transplant in the hospital’s history.
Although the procedure went “seamlessly,” according to Dr. Talbot, Peck faces a long road to recovery. In order for the transplant to work, surgeons had to starts by attaching the arm to the bones, and then stitched the veins, arteries, muscle, nerves, and skin together. Still, rigorous physical therapy is now required to ensure that Peck’s muscles don’t deteriorate and the nerves continue to grow.
Though, the veteran will certainly have to overcome challenges moving forward, for Peck, it was love at first sight.
"I loved them the minute I saw them," he said of his new arms. "The skin color is a perfect match ... everything is just perfect.”
Preparing food in a professional kitchen can be rigorous work, and Dr. Talbot is unsure how much function Peck will ultimately have in his arms. Still, the surgeon believes his patient should be able to perform “routine daily activities.” Whether he ultimately makes it as a chef or not, Peck will now be able start truly rebuilding his life.
"What means more to me than all of that,” Peck told reporters, “I will be able to hold [his wife] Jessica's hand and and be able to feel it. That is a precious gift."
[via ABC News]