Unable to afford medical treatment in Dubai, a 34-year-old Indian carpenter flew into Delhi with a severed thumb wrapped in a bandage after 22 hours of the incident. A delay of two hours would have drastically reduced the chances of recovery.
Sandeep, who hails from Rajasthan, lost his left thumb while working on a saw machine in September. His modest income did not allow him treatment in Dubai.
Doctors there put the thumb between the fingers and wrapped a bandage around it.
On arriving in India, the family took him to Aakash Healthcare, it being the nearest hospital to the airport.
The saw had cut three vessels causing loss of 300 ml of blood in less than 24 hours, doctors at the hospital said.
"We took him in for surgery within 10 minutes of reaching the hospital. The procedure, technically known as 'reimplantation' and conducted under regional anesthesia, took six hours to complete. This is a highly specialised process where micro suture and micro instruments are used," said Dr Aashish Chaudhry, Director and Head, Orthopaedics & Joint Replacement Department.
The doctors harvested a part of a vein from the forearm to place between the severed arteries of the thumb. The patient has recovered well and is ready to join work in another fortnight, Chaudhry said.
Doctors termed it a rare surgery as an amputated thumb can be successfully reattached within 24 hours only if it is preserved in a cold container or surrounded by ice. Sandeep is lucky to have reached the hospital in the nick of time.
A delay of two more hours would have reduced the likelihood of complete recovery to just 20-30 per cent, they said.