Modern medical science is a far cry from the "Eh, let's just chop it off" approach of yesteryear. But even with today's resources, situations arise where normal medical practices just won't get the job done.
That's when it's time to think outside the box. The following are surgeries that prove that even the smartest of doctors can have crazy ideas. But is an idea really that crazy if it works?
Yes. Yes, it is.
WARNING: THESE INSPIRATIONAL STORIES ARE ALL GROSS AND WEIRD AS SHIT.
#6. Little Girl's Hand Is Saved by Grafting It to Her Leg
Let us tell you the story of 9-year-old Ming Li, a little Chinese girl who was walking to school one morning when suddenly, disaster struck her. Sorry, did we say "disaster?" We meant a freaking tractor.
"Sure, you can drive these things sober. But why would you?"
The accident not only severed her hand, but also damaged her arm so badly that doctors could not reattach her hand until it healed. Since body parts tend to go bad pretty quickly when they're no longer attached to you (you can't keep them on ice forever), doctors had to act fast or the girl would go through her life sans hand.
So, they attached that shit to her leg.
This is the most confusing mummy costume we have ever seen.
But ... Why?
The hand just needed to be attached to her body; it didn't necessarily need to be attached in the same spot. So, by grafting the hand temporarily to the girl's foot, the doctors were able to provide the circulation needed to keep her hand alive. The hand, attached to the circulatory system of the calf, stayed there for three months while Ming's arm healed enough to allow for a successful transplant back to where it belonged.
"Three months was also just enough time to recover from the wicked drunk required to do the first surgery."
And here's the thing: The hand was apparently good to go the second the arm healed. This means that technically, Ming was lying around with a fully operational hand attached to her calf. We don't know if the hand was operational enough to, say, do crosswords or scratch her foot without her having to get up, but since the details of the procedure are rather scarce, we're choosing to believe that she spent the bulk of the healing period by flipping the most creative bird in history to everyone who came to gawk at her.
Doctors are confident that after a few more operations, Ming's hand will be almost fully operational. Throw in a couple of plastic surgeries to get rid of the scarring and you have one badass little girl who could have never been in an accident at all, if it wasn't for a hell of a story she can now impress her friends with.
Pictured: Bragging rights. All the bragging rights.
#5. The Man With a Toe for a Thumb
If you have a job as a paver, your livelihood relies on your hands being strong and proficient. James Byrne of Ireland never had a problem with fulfilling those requirements. As a plant operator, athlete and dedicated father, Byrne had everything a guy with two thumbs would ever need. That is, until the day he was fiddling around with a buzz saw and accidentally chopped off one of those thumbs.
"My wedding ring was stuck and it seemed like the simplest solution."
Now, obviously, James was upset. Without a thumb, his left hand was limited to not much more than drumming on his desk and the occasional high-four. Doctors tried like hell to reattach the severed digit, but it was so badly damaged that the blood just wasn't flowing into it. That's a disaster in most cases -- every tool and utensil you use requires a thumb. A human without an opposable thumb is basically just a big, hairless bear.
So, they sewed a toe on there instead. Problem solved!
As it happens, close counts in horseshoes and experimental surgery.
But ... Why?
After all the unsuccessful attempts to get the thumb working, Dr. Umraz Khan knew it was time to get crazy. But what else can you do? After all, it's not exactly like you have a third thumb on your body somewhere that you can just graft onto your hand.
Actually ... you do. Look at your feet. See how similar your big toe is to a thumb? Byrne's doctors just cut that shit off his left foot and sewed it right to his hand.
The operation was a success and Byrne expects to be back at work in a couple of months.
He's already tired of explaining it to people.
While he'll never be able to run like he used to without his big toe, James says the good outweighs the bad. Without his thumb, he would not have been able to pick up a brick, hold a pen or do so many of the things we all take for granted. But doctors say that after some therapy, he will adapt to his new toe-thumb and be ready to get back to work. Also, on the plus side, doctors will work to make the toe look more like a thumb so James isn't walking around like some kind of mutant club-thumbed buffoon.
Our best instruments predict a pun within 50 feet of these images.
#4. Man Grows New Fingertip on His Stomach
Wang Yongjun was a furniture builder in China whose attention was momentarily diverted from the electrical saw he was working with. He promptly earned a severely mutilated finger for his troubles, because that's what happens when you let your guard down around spinning blades.
It's like someone designed a weapon specifically to fight absent-minded people.
Normally, severing a whole finger isn't the end of the world -- you can put the freshly emancipated digit in ice and the doctors will sew it back on, hand you a lollipop and shove you out the door. However, Wang's entire fingertip had been pretty much pulverized -- muscle, skin, everything. All that remained was bone, so there was no way to get the blood circulation (which is essential for the healing process) going again. There was nothing much for the doctors to do short of amputation, which again would've been a shitty deal for a guy who works with his hands.
That is, until Dr. Xuesong Huang wandered along, saw the situation and said, "Hey, guys, I know just what to do."
Then, he took Wang to the operating room and grafted his finger to the skin of his stomach like some sad, masturbatory mini-human centipede.
Stare at this picture for 10 minutes every day to get rid of your gag reflex forever.
It's called biomedical engineering, which is basically the application of time-honored "Well, connecting this bit with this one should work" engineering processes to medical science. You might recognize the discipline as the favorite pastime of doctors Frankenstein and Moreau, not to mention every other mad scientist throughout history.
In this particular case, the idea was that grafting the remains of the finger to the soft tissues and, more importantly, the circulatory system of the stomach should kick-start the healing process, and new muscle and skin would grow on the damaged parts of the finger. And the disgusting, disgusting skin sausage that ensued indeed did the trick -- a tendril of new tissue started growing around Wang's finger, which at the time of writing looks set to be completely healed even if it is no doubt going to give the man all manner of "sausage fingers" related nicknames.
Dr. Huang has received praise for his work, especially since this sort of cultivation process is usually done in a vat. Still, we can't help thinking that since Huang apparently felt like he had to pull off some weird movie medicine stunt, he could just have taken the Bruce Campbell route to appendage removal and replaced the finger with a miniature chainsaw. Come on, the man's even a carpenter! It was right there!