Doctors have given a British shoemaker who lost his thumb in an industrial accident one of his big toes as an alternative finger. The man got the toe on during an operation in the hospital of the English town of Sutton-in-Ashfield.
Forty-year-old David Lee lost his thumb while cutting off the heel of a shoe. After the accident, the man was particularly concerned that he could no longer practice his profession and great passion. After consultation, doctors offered to amputate the big toe of his right foot and put it on his hand.
Such an operation is not unique, but very rare, says one of the doctors in charge during the ten-hour operation. "There are several ways to reconstruct a thumb in such cases," she says.
"But using your own big toe gives the best results. We use this method more often when people are afraid that they can no longer do their job."
The accident took place on January 9, 2019. Lee had to recover for months after the operation, which took place in the spring. In particular it took him a lot of effort to get enough strength in his 'toe thumb' to resume his work as a shoemaker.
The doctors at the University Hospitals of Derby and Burton awarded Lee the Patient Hero Award at the end of last week, a prize for patients who had a special performance after major surgery.