The World’s First Double Hand Transplant Recipient Writes A Touching Thank You Letter To His Doctor

He's got one more letter to write after this one

Four years ago, Chris King lost both of his hands in a workplace accident. Three years later, his life was changed again—this time for the better—as he became the world’s first double hand transplant recipient, thanks to the innovation of plastic surgeon Simon Kay.

Kay made headlines in 2012 after completing the first (single) hand transplant in history.

The complicated procedure is still in its nascency, so King was told to temper any expectations of returning to his pre-accident life. But it’s now been 10 months since the procedure, and his progress has been exemplary. Speaking to The Telegraph, King says by way of an update, "It's been going fantastically. I can make a fist, I can hold a pen, I can do more or less the same functions as I could with my original hands. There are still limitations but I'm getting back to the full Chris again."

As he regained both dexterity and function in both his hands, King achieved his longtime goal of drafting a handwritten thank-you letter to his surgeon. The act was filmed to demonstrate the incredible progress King has made in a remarkably short span of time.

With that task out of the way, King has obligated himself to pen another letter, this one to show his appreciation to the family of the organ donor whose hands he now uses. Without organ donation and the donor’s registration, King would continue to struggle without the aid of this life-changing gift.

Consequently, he’s dedicated both his story and his effort to compel people to register as organ donors. "Become a donor and live your life to the full like I want to live now. That's the message I'd like to get over. It's so wonderful. We can do some great things in this country. If only we can push it a bit more and don't be afraid to be a donor."

King’s historic surgery and inspiring progress go a long way as testimony to the importance of organ donation, but it’s clear he’s pretty far from the end of his crusade.


Two years after its opening in 1914, the Baltimore Museum of Art acquired a painting by Sarah Miriam Peale — its first work by a female artist. More than a century later, one might assume that the museum would have a fairly equal mix of male and female artists, right? But as of today, only 4% of the 95,000 pieces in the museum's permanent collection were created by women.

The museum is determined to narrow that gap, and they're taking a drastic step to do so.

Keep Reading Show less
via Chela Horsdal / Twitter

Amazon's "The Man in the High Castle" debuted the first episode of its final season last week.

The show is loosely based on an alternative history novel by Philip K. Dick that postulates what would happen if Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan controlled the United States after being victorious in World War II.

Keep Reading Show less
via Alan Levine / Flickr

The World Health Organization is hoping to drive down the cost of insulin by encouraging more generic drug makers to enter the market.

The organization hopes that by increasing competition for insulin, drug manufacturers will be forced to lower their prices.

Currently, only three companies dominate the world insulin market, Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi. Over the past three decades they've worked to drastically increase the price of the drug, leading to an insulin availability crisis in some places.

In the United States, the price of insulin has increased from $35 a vial to $275 over the past two decades.

Keep Reading Show less

Oh, irony. You are having quite a day.

The Italian region of Veneto, which includes the city of Venice, is currently experiencing historic flooding. Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro has stated that the flooding is a direct result of climate change, with the tide measuring the highest level in 50 years. The city (which is actually a collection of 100 islands in a lagoon—hence its famous canal streets), is no stranger to regular flooding, but is currently on the brink of declaring a state of emergency as waters refuse to recede.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet

Since the International Whaling Commission banned commercial whaling in 1986, whale populations have been steadily recovering. However, whales in the wild still face other dangers. In the summer of 2018, four Russian companies that supply aquariums with marine animals captured almost 100 beluga whales and killer whales (aka orcas). After a public outcry, those whales are swimming free as the last of the captive whales have been released, the first time this many captured whales have been released back into the wild.

In late 2018 and early 2019, a drone captured footage of 11 orcas and 87 beluga whales crammed into holding pens in the Srednyaya Bay. The so-called "whale jail" made headlines, and authorities began to investigate their potentially illegal capture.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet