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

Local News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Deb Kelly’s world was one adventure after another.

She loved traveling and spending time with friends and family. Very little slowed her down, so she didn’t think twice when she started feeling a little off on Easter Sunday of 2017. 

Kelly thought she had just caught a cold but by Tuesday – she was on life support. 

Kelly remained unconscious for days with her sister by her side. Doctors eventually determined she had an invasive form of strep.

They had to amputate both hands and both legs.

She has since become the first person in the state to receive a bilateral hand transplant.

It took a 14-hour operation at Duke University Hospital for her life to change again.

CBS 17’s Maggie Newland has been with Kelly on her journey from the surgery to her recovery. 

Thursday at 7 p.m. in a special 30-minute documentary on CBS 17, Newland brings you Kelly’s journey as the infection took her hands and feet, but not her hope.

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