Wed, Mar 12, 2014 - Page 5 News List

Butcher finds hospital to save thumb

Staff writer, with CNA

A pork vendor who accidentally chopped off the outer part of his left thumb was able to have it reattached successfully several hours later after being turned down by a number of hospitals, a hospital in Greater Taichung said on Monday.

The accident occurred as the 34-year-old man was cutting pork chops for a customer.

He took the severed section of his thumb to a hospital nearby for emergency treatment, but was told that the injury would be treated as if the thumb had been amputated.

The vendor refused to accept that opinion and called several other hospitals as he waited in the emergency ward to see if they could reattach it, but to no avail.

Then he called Cheng Ching Hospital.

Wei Ching-yueh (魏經岳), director of the Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery of Cheng Ching Hospital’s Pingteng branch, said that after examining the thumb, he believed there was a 75 percent chance that reattachment would succeed.

He explained to the patient how the procedure would work and the possible risks and then sent the man to surgery, even though five or six hours had passed since the accident — well past the ideal time to reattach the finger.

It took about four hours for doctors to clean the man’s wound and reconnect the severed part of the thumb.

Wei said he used metal wire to fix the bone in place and stitched together the flexor and extensor tendons, then sutured arteries, veins and nerves using thread thinner than a hair, and finally stitched the skin together.

The operation was successful, and the patient has been discharged from the hospital.

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