Hands of a Stranger
“Hands of a Stranger” (1962) centers on pianist Vernon Paris whose hands are destroyed in a car accident. After a doctor performs a radical procedure—a double hand transplant—the musician loses his mind as well as his ability to play.
When the film was first released, limb transplants were still considered pure fiction. Yet a mere two years later, surgeons performs the first hand transplant on a human in Ecuador. Only a few have been performed since: the procedure is difficult, due in part to the complex anatomy of the hand. As with other transplantation procedures, psychological evaluation is considered an important part of the process when identifying suitable candidates—something the characters in this week’s film might have wanted to consider.
Sanford MeekMechanical Engineer Sanford Meek of the University of Utah discusses hand transplantation and the film “Hands of a Stranger.”
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