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Surgeon known for first hand transplant in U.S. dies at 92

Posted October 12, 2020 12:05 p.m. EDT
Updated October 12, 2020 12:06 p.m. EDT

— Joseph Kutz, a hand surgeon who helped perform the first hand transplant in the United States, has died. He was 92.

Kutz died Saturday, according to a post on Facebook by The Kleinert Kutz Hand Care Center, a medical facility Kutz co-founded more than 50 years ago.

“Larger than life in height and personality, Dr. Kutz' workhorse ethic propelled this practice into world-renowned recognition in the pioneering treatment of flexor tendon injuries and microsurgical techniques,” the center, which has locations in Kentucky and Indiana, wrote. "He was a father, friend, beloved teacher, and surgeon and avid horseman who never missed a Derby! He was a pillar of the Louisville community and will be greatly missed by all who admired and loved him.”

The Louisville surgeon performed the milestone transplant surgery in 1999, about 40 years after he first arrived at the center as a surgical resident, Courier Journal reported.

He was awarded the President’s Cabinet Award in 1979, and the Ephraim McDowell Physician of the Year Award 20 years later.

Kutz, who graduated from the University of Michigan Medical School in 1958, had more than 80 publications. His work has also appeared in several textbooks.

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