Welsh surgeons sew man’s severed hand back on

By Robin Turner, WalesOnline
Jarred Evans and Dr Richard Karoo

Surgeons have re-attached the severed hand of a father of two, who said: “Now I’ll be able to pick my children up again.”

Jarred Evans underwent a 13-hour operation after his hand became caught in a machine at his factory workplace, severing it mid palm and leaving only his thumb in place.

The 21 year old from Tonypandy was taken to his local emergency department but was immediately transferred to the Welsh Centre for Burns and Plastic Surgery at Swansea’s Morriston Hospital for the surgery.

Two weeks later, he’s on the road to recovery, with movement and feeling now starting to return to the right hand.

Richard Karoo, a consultant plastic surgeon at Morriston, said: “Injuries like Jarred’s are actually extremely rare. A plastic surgery unit may treat such a trauma case every few years, but they are so uncommon that many doctors or nurses will never see such an injury in their career.

“What makes Jarred’s case even more complex is the level at which the limb was severed. Jarred lost his hand mid palm, significantly damaging multiple veins and arteries to all his fingers.

“This meant that once the hand was re-attached with metal pins through the bones, blood wouldn’t be able to flow back and forth to keep it alive.

“To repair this we used vein grafts from his legs and arms to replace the ones he had lost. Using a microscope and sutures as fine as hair we were able to successfully reconnect a blood supply to all fingers and palm.

“Reconstruction of the nerves and rejoining of the divided tendons was also undertaken at the same time to help get the feeling and movement back into his hand.”

Jarred said of the operation: “As I waited in the anaesthetic room for the operation to start, I admit I was really frightened. I just didn’t know if my hand could be saved.

“When I woke up, I was amazed that it had been reattached. It is unbelievable what the staff are able to do here.

“Having my hand back means everything to me. I just can’t thank the doctors and nurses enough.

“I have two small children, so I’ll still be able be able to pick them up and do activities with them.

“I know I have a long road ahead of me, with a lot of rehabilitation over the next year or so, but it absolutely brilliant what the team have been able to do already.”

Dr Karoo added: “An injury like this is devastating for a patient and we never know when starting such a case if the reattachment of the limb will survive.

“However, I feel the positive impact of a successful operation like this, especially for someone as young as Jarred, is truly immeasurable.

“Over the long term, our expert team of hand therapists will be essential in Jarred’s rehabilitation. It is with their help that we hope the full potential of everyone’s efforts will be reached.”

“It is fantastic that we have the facilities and expertise here at the Welsh Centre for Burns and Plastic Surgery for these kinds of procedures.

“Being a regional specialist centre we undertake a multitude of trauma, reconstructive, cancer and burns operations for patients across the whole of South Wales.”

The Welsh Centre for Burns and Plastic Surgery provides a network of care for a population of 2.3 million across West, Central and South Wales.

The Welsh Centre moved to Swansea from St. Lawrence Hospital, Chepstow, in 1994, and since that time has become well established within Morriston Hospital.

The burns service has developed since the transfer and has always been at the forefront in the use of developing technologies for the benefit of burn patients such Integra (artificial skin).

The service treats around 750 patients a year, of which half need inpatient treatment. Approximately half are children.

The centre was widely praised for the help it gave burned steelworkers following the 2001 explosion at the former Corus steel works in Port Talbot which killed three people and left more than a dozen with serious injuries.


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