After his fingers were severed in a horrific accident, a British man had his toes surgically attached to his hand.
Jeremy Payton, 55, of Kent, England, feared he would forever be disabled after losing all the fingers on his right hand 17 years ago in an industrial power blending machine while working in a factory.
“When the accident happened, I didn't realize how serious it was," Payton told SWNS. "I went to find a first aider at work and said to him 'I think my I've taken some skin off my hand,’” Payton said. "When I looked down at my hand, I realized my fingers were gone."
A quick-thinking colleague took Payton’s three fingers out of the machine and wrapped them in a towel with ice. Doctors later tried to sew Payton’s middle and ring finger back on because the rest were too damaged. But after two weeks, necrosis set it and the digits had to be removed again.
Doctors later pitched the idea of removing some of Payton’s toes and placing them on his hand. The procedure would involve removing his big toe from his left foot to replace the thumb. The second and third toes from his right foot would also be used to give him some dexterity in the damaged hand.
"It sounded really weird when they explained it. I couldn't get my head around it until I spoke to a young lad who'd lost his thumb in a forestry accident," Payton said. “"He showed me what was on his hand. They'd taken off a toe and sewn it on.”
Payton agreed to the surgery and in a series of operations over the span of a year, the mangled stump of his right hand was transformed into a patchwork of new digits.
Payton’s healing process wasn’t easy as his wife had given birth to twins just five weeks before the accident and she was left to do most of the physical tasks in terms of caring for the children, but the accident did allow him to spend more time with his family.
"Although I wasn't able to do much for the babies, I could still spend time with them,” Payton said. "But if you were to ask my wife, she'd probably say it was like having four children."
Now that the dad of three's hand is healed, he’s able to take part in the activities he enjoyed before the accident, including gardening, DIY and golf.
He drives a manual car and is always looking for ways to adapt tools to help him.
"Without the operation, I'd be struggling physically and mentally,” he said.