Quadruple Amputee Lindsay Ess Talks Transplant, Recovery

Lindsay Ess, a 29-year-old quadruple amputee who lost both hands and feet due to an infection five years ago, will be featured on a special edition of ABC's "Nightline," entitled "To Hold Again," on Jan. 4 to discuss her recovery since she had a rare and successful hand transplant surgery in Fall 2011.

Ess, who grew up in Texas and Virginia, developed an infection due to a blockage in her small intestine when she was 24-years-old due to Crohn's disease, shortly after she had graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University.

The recent graduate was then put into a medically-induced coma in an attempt to save her life, and as an ABC teaser indicates, Ess woke up to find her hands and feet black with decomposed tissue.

"I would look down and I would see black, almost like a body that had decomposed," Ess told ABC News of her time spent in the hospital following her wake from a medically-induced coma.

"There was a period of time where they didn't tell me that they had to amputate, but somebody from the staff said, 'Oh honey, you know what they are going to do to your hands, right?' That's when I knew," Ess added.

Ess then had her feet and hands amputated, making her a quadruple amputee, and it wasn't until Fall 2011 that Ess received a double hand transplant in a radical, rarely-performed 12-hour surgical procedure at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

According to ABC News, the surgical procedure performed to attach donor hands and forearms to Ess was so cutting edge that it had only been attempted 60 times in the past 15 years.

Now, Ess is reportedly recovering from her intensive surgery surprisingly well, and will be speaking about her struggles as a quadruple amputee tonight on "Nightline."

As The Philadelphia Inquirer previously reported, Ess's lead surgeon calls her progress "nothing less than spectacular."