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  1. #1
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    Man's job saved by Big Toe transplant

    14 September 2011 Last updated at 10:47 GMT



    James Byrne is only one of a few patients in the past five years to have had a toe re-attached as a digit.
    An Irishman who accidentally cut off his thumb has had his big toe surgically transplanted on to his hand in its place.
    James Byrne, 29, severed the digit on his left hand last December while sawing through a piece of wood.
    The thumb was so badly damaged in the accident that plastic surgeons could not reattach it.
    Mr Byrne, who is originally from County Carlow, said after the accident he feared he would not be able to continue his work as a paver.
    "We tried everything, including leeches, to get the blood flowing again, but it didn't take," he said.
    "I couldn't lift anything with my left hand. You can't lay one-handed, you might as well go home."
    Surgeons at the Frenchay Hospital in Bristol, near where Mr Byrne now lives, agreed that the next best option was to take the toe from the patient's left foot and attach it to his hand.
    'Cartoon thumb' The father-of-one admitted he was sceptical when surgeon Umraz Khan first suggested amputating his big toe.
    "Mr Khan said to me 'you will have a thumb even if I have to take your toe'. I thought he was joking, but he was serious and nine months later here it is."
    Less than a week after the eight-hour operation Mr Byrne is already able to move his new digit.
    "It looks like a cartoon thumb that has been hit by a mallet," he told the Irish Independent.
    "The aesthetics of it don't bother me, I am just happy that it works. My work as a paver would have been destroyed without the use of my hand.
    "I couldn't pick up a brick without a thumb but now I hope I can be back at work in a few months.
    "I never thought it would work but the surgical teams and the nurses have done such a fantastic job and the care has been amazing."
    Mr Byrne said his new thumb is like something from a cartoon
    Mr Byrne will now have physiotherapy to help him to adapt to using his new thumb.
    Frenchay Hospital is a regional micro-surgery centre and has an international reputation for complex surgery.
    Mr Khan led two teams of surgeons and anaesthetists - one working on Mr Byrne's toe while the other worked on his hand.
    He said: "It is quite a rare thing to do and is a very complex micro-surgical procedure, which involves re-attaching the bone, nerves, arteries, tendons, ligaments and skin of the toe to the hand.
    "James will have to learn to re-balance, without his left great toe, on to the ball of the foot but he will be able to walk and jog normally.
    "It is still early days for him and he might need additional surgery to make it look more like a thumb."
    Coming up: Doctors replace Butterfly's head with his arsehole, and nobody notices.

  2. #2
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    Wally Dorian Raffles's Avatar
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    he feared he would not be able to continue his work as a paver.
    the article doesnt say how the accident happened, but if he did it at work, then with a good lawyer, he could have had a very large compensation payout..

    i'm not sure what is worse - having a gammy thumb, or having no big toe and a toe for a thumb

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wally Dorian Raffles View Post
    the article doesnt say how the accident happened
    "James Byrne, 29, severed the digit on his left hand last December while sawing through a piece of wood.".

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wally Dorian Raffles View Post
    he feared he would not be able to continue his work as a paver.
    the article doesnt say how the accident happened, but if he did it at work, then with a good lawyer, he could have had a very large compensation payout..

    i'm not sure what is worse - having a gammy thumb, or having no big toe and a toe for a thumb
    That's actually a myth; the only recourse he would have against his employer would be through workers compensation, and that would pay for his medical care and part of his lost wages only. The advantage of workers comp is that it pays the worker regardless of the worker's fault, and in this case he was likely negligent with the saw.

  5. #5
    Member Albert Shagnasty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by harrybarracuda View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Wally Dorian Raffles View Post
    the article doesnt say how the accident happened
    "James Byrne, 29, severed the digit on his left hand last December while sawing through a piece of wood.".
    Not very clear Harry - could you explain it in Lay mans terms for a nigga?

  6. #6
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    surgeon Umraz Khan
    We tried everything, including leeches,
    he must have qualified in the fifteenth century.

  7. #7
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    I had my left index finger re-attached using bone cut from my hip and a steel pin up the centre of it.

    And yes I did get a payout which I spent on fast cars, woman and the good life and it was all gone before I reached 21.

    The finger still works but I always have problems going through metal detectors.

  8. #8
    Member Albert Shagnasty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loy Toy View Post
    I had my left index finger re-attached using bone cut from my hip and a steel pin up the centre of it.

    And yes I did get a payout which I spent on fast cars, woman and the good life and it was all gone before I reached 21.

    The finger still works but I always have problems going through metal detectors.
    Top job - one life-live it

  9. #9
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    ^^^^^^thanks harry i missed that. but it still doesnt say if he did it at work or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by BobR View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Wally Dorian Raffles View Post
    he feared he would not be able to continue his work as a paver.
    the article doesnt say how the accident happened, but if he did it at work, then with a good lawyer, he could have had a very large compensation payout..

    i'm not sure what is worse - having a gammy thumb, or having no big toe and a toe for a thumb
    That's actually a myth; the only recourse he would have against his employer would be through workers compensation, and that would pay for his medical care and part of his lost wages only. The advantage of workers comp is that it pays the worker regardless of the worker's fault, and in this case he was likely negligent with the saw.
    if it happened when he was at work, even though he may have been negligent, a good lawyer may be able to find an area with the employer also being neglegent - ie: he was employed as a paver, and not as a carpenter, and he is not trained to operate given saw. you know how lawyers work..

    if he has a case worth following, and if he is unqualified to do any other work than paving - or a job where he needs two thumbs, then he should be able to get the equivilent of the amount of money he would have earned during his working life. a guy his age would get a very large payout if he could prove that he is uncapable of doing any other kind of work . the other side would argue that a person his age could always be re-trained to do something else though i suppose. so his case would probably depend on whether or not he could prove that he is a complete moron who is only capable of doing tasks like picking up bricks, and puting them down. the fact that he cut off his own thumb is a pretty dumb thing to do, so he may have just had a case

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