A Chinese man suffered an industrial accident in Hunan Province while operating on a machine at work in November had his right hand severed. To keep his hand alive, he had doctors in China attach his hand to his ankle while he waited for a month before undergoing reattachment surgery.
Xiao Wei was told by doctors in the beginning that they cannot save his severed hand. Mr Xiao said he was shocked and frozen when he saw his hand cut off from his arm. He realised his co-workers unplugged the machine and took him to the hospital along with his severed hand.
Mr Xiao said he was still young and couldn't imagine his life with only one hand. Doctors at the local hospital referred him to a bigger regional hospital in Changsha. He arrived at the hospital after seven hours where he was told his right hand can still be saved.
The regional hospital doctors told him that his hand could be attached but only if his entire right arm can recover from the injury. To keep the hand alive while Mr Xiao waited for his scheduled operation, doctors were left with no choice but to attach it to his ankle temporarily.
Doctors said Mr Xiao's injuries were severe and they had to make sure his right arm was treated before considering reattachment surgery.
On Dec. 10, doctors finally performed the reattachment surgery on Mr Xiao and restored his right hand to his right arm successfully. Although doctors said he will need to undergo more surgeries, they were optimistic his right hand will be back to normal after the procedures.
According to Dr Cairian Healy of the Royal College of Surgeons in England, reattachment surgeries may be rare but not unthinkable. He said Chinese doctors are experienced in performing microsurgeries. The idea of attaching a severed part of a human body by attaching it to another body part is to give it ample blood supply. Mr Healy said the ankle is a difficult place to graft, thus, most surgeons would commonly choose the armpit instead.