Australian man's thumb surgically replaced by toe

Zac Mitchell, 20, was injured in April while working on a remote farming property in Western Australia.

Published: 13th July 2017 02:56 PM  |   Last Updated: 13th July 2017 02:56 PM   |  A+A-


CANBERRA: An Australian cattle worker whose thumb was severed by a bull has had his toe surgically transplanted in its position, the media reported on Thursday.

Zac Mitchell, 20, was injured in April while working on a remote farming property in Western Australia.

"A bull kicked my hand into the fence," Mitchell told the BBC.

He underwent two unsuccessful operations to re-attach his thumb before doctors opted to relocate his big toe in surgery lasting eight hours.

Mitchell said fellow workers had attempted to preserve his thumb immediately after the accident.

"They put it in the cooler with some ice," he told the BBC.

Mitchell was flown to hospital in the state capital of Perth, but efforts to save his thumb ultimately failed.

Despite initial reluctance, the cattle worker agreed to the transplant operation at the Sydney Eye Hospital two weeks ago.

Lead plastic surgeon Sean Nicklin said he was not surprised it took time to accept.

"It is a bit of a crazy idea...they (patients) do not want to be injured in another part of their body.

"(However) even if you have got four good fingers, if you do not have something to pinch against them, your hand has lost a huge amount of its function," the BBC quoted Nicklin as saying.

Mitchell will need more than 12 months of rehabilitation, but he plans to return to farm work.

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