BY JAMES TWOMEY
Two surgeons have been praised for their stamina after saving a man’s left hand which was “hanging on by skin and bone” in a 17-hour surgery.
Anthony Lelliott, 46, nearly lost his hand after an electrical saw sliced it in two places on May 30.
The carpenter was cutting flooring when the accident almost completely amputated his hand at the base of his palm and just below his fingers.
Two surgeons at St George’s Hospital in Tooting worked through the night until 9am and even needed to sow a piece of Andrew’s groin to his hand to connect the skin.
Anthony said: “I threw myself off the saw. I don’t know whether it was my brain playing tricks on me, but it was like an out of body experience; I could see myself and see what I’d done. There was blood spurting out everywhere.”
“All I remember was coming through the doors into A&E and being greeted by a phenomenal amount of people. I couldn’t count them.”
Consultant plastic surgeon, Roger Adlard, who was on call when Anthony was rushed to St George’s, called his colleague, Farida Ali, who was not on call but immediately agreed to help when she heard of the severity of the injury.
Mr Adlard said: “When we took him to theatre I realised it was much worse than I’d first thought.
“It had been described as a sub-total hand amputation, which was true, however it had it been cut off almost completely in two places – at the base of his palm and again just below the fingers – resulting in a double-level amputation.
“I knew then that it was going to be a very long operation and if I proceeded on my own then the chance of saving all five fingers was slim.
“Time was also against us; his detached fingers were getting warm and left too long without blood they would rapidly decompose and be impossible to reattach.
“The next problem was there wasn’t enough skin to cover the exposed delicate microvascular repairs in his palm, so we decided to attach his hand to his groin to borrow skin from there.
“This procedure is called a pedicled groin flap and was performed by another hand surgeon, Jamil Moledina.”
“Mr Moledina cut a section of skin in Anthony’s groin and lifted it like a flap to cover the missing skin from his hand. It was sewn in place and left there for two weeks.
“Eventually the skin from his groin grew new roots to where it had been transferred to his hand and we were able to cut his hand free.”
“I’ve done maybe three or four hand amputations in my lifetime – most units will see one or two every year.
“I’d say it’s probably the most complex amputation I’ve had to deal with.
“There are many surgeons who, once they’d seen that level of injury, would think it was unsalvageable.”
Anthony has now begun to regain some movement in his hand. He has regular sessions with St George’s hand therapy team – a group of specialist physiotherapists who are helping to rehabilitate his hand.
Anthony added: “The care I’ve received has been fantastic and I’ve got so much gratitude for everyone; from the paramedics who were first on the scene to the staff working in the intensive care unit and on Vernon Ward at St George’s.
“Words can’t describe it because I was expecting to wake up without a hand. It’s just trying to get it to work now. It’s unbelievable really, I’m so grateful.”