Teenager gets thumb amputated and replaced with big toe after doctors botch simple surgery

Conrad Duncan@theconradduncan
Thursday 12 September 2019 11:45
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Picture:(Getty Images/iStockphoto/Twitter)

Australian doctors have replaced a teenager's thumb with her big toe after they botched a simple piece of surgery.

Britney Thomas fractured her thumb while playing cricket in Hong Kong and was referred to a local orthopaedic surgeon in Victoria, Australia. Five days after surgeons operated to fix the thumb and set it in plaster, Britney said she was in agony. But when she went to her local GP, staff were shocked to find that the tourniquet used to cut off the blood supply to her thumb during surgery had been left on by accident

Tom Ballantyne, Britney’s solicitor, told ABC News (Australia):

If you leave (a tourniquet) on and continue to restrict the blood flow to the thumb, it will die.

It's really Medicine 101 — it's unacceptable and pretty hard to understand how that happened.

Britney's situation only got worse from there…

In a desperate attempt to save her thumb, leeches were applied to get the blood flowing. When that didn't work, her thumb was stitched to her groin for six weeks to try to get the nerves and arteries working again…

After all their efforts failed, doctors were forced to go to their last resort – amputating Britney’s thumb and replacing it with her big toe.

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Now, she says she can’t bend her thumb at the joint – potentially ruining her hopes of playing professional cricket.

Britney told ABC:

People ask me, 'Oh why does your thumb look so weird?'

And I'm like, 'Because it's not my thumb, it's my toe.'

The chief executive of the hospital where the surgery took place (Latrobe Regional Hospital) was understandably extremely apologetic over the mistake.

Peter Craighead said the incredible mishap was “gut-wrenching” for many staff and he pledged to make sure it didn’t happen again.

Although one time is probably one time too many…

HT: ABC News

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