‘Hand in Hand’ – A woman’s journey receiving the first bilateral hand transplant in North Carolina

U.S. & World News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – When Deb Kelly developed a fever on Easter Sunday of 2017, she thought she’d caught a cold.

Two days later she was on life support. 

Doctors eventually determined she had an invasive form of strep and had to amputate both hands and both legs.

On Thanksgiving Day 2018, her life changed again.  

She became the first person in North Carolina to receive a bilateral hand transplant during a 14-hour surgery at Duke University Hospital. 

Since then, she has been learning to live with two new hands, relearning everyday tasks, embracing the gift she never expected. 

CBS 17’s Maggie Newland and photojournalist Dave Hattman have followed along with Deb for much of this inspirational journey.  

This is her story. 

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