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Poetry and Medicine
August 7, 2013

Sts Cosmas and Damian Perform the First Human Leg Transplant

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Preventive Medicine, State University of New York at Stony Brook.
JAMA. 2013;310(5):539. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.2092

Fra Angelico captures Cosmas and Damian
at the moment of attachment. They’ve placed
the dead Ethiopian’s right lower leg
into position. Their patient, a fair-skinned deacon
whose ulcerated leg they had amputated,
seems to have ascended into another plane,
or passed out. Their next step would have been
to suture the ebony leg to the rosy thigh,
unless holiness was sufficient adhesive.

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