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After a bull attacked and severed the thumb of a 20-year-old cattle worker in Australia, the doctors replaced his thumb with his toe through an eight-hour surgical procedure.
Zac Mitchell, the 20-year-old was working at a remote cattle station in Western Australia. He lost his thumb in April when a bull kicked his hand into a fence severing off his right thumb.
He told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, “My thumb was still hanging on the rail there when I got up off the ground. My boss looked down and saw the blood and asked me what was bleeding. I had a look at my hand and figured out pretty quick (that the thumb had been severed).”
Since the nearest hospital from the point of the incident was five hours away, the doctors were unable to attach it back to his hand despite putting the thumb on ice the entire time.
Surgeons tried to reattach the thumb twice, however, they failed. They then advised Mr Mitchell that his best option was a radical form of surgery that would require the doctors to cut off his big toe to replace his thumb. Shocked at first, he eventually agreed with no other options at hand.
Mr Mitchell told the media that losing his toe hasn’t affected his walking. He said, “I haven’t fallen over anyway, I don’t think it’s had much of an effect on the balance.”
The doctors had to cut his toe and attach it to his hand. The entire process took the doctors around eight-hour to successfully complete the surgery.
Plastic surgeon, Dr Sean Nicklin, who conducted the operation on Mitchell at Sydney Eye Hospital said, “It was unusual to perform a transplant involving a complete toe. He added, “To recreate a thumb you can just use skin and bone, but that doesn’t work so well, so really the toe is just the best option by far — when it works well.”