Arkansas surgeons save man's hand

A severe hand injury can be devastating, but a team of hand surgeons at UAMS is giving patients hope who otherwise may not have had many options.

Two surgeons were in the right place on the right day to save a Texas man's hand.

"I was at work when I had an accident."

Mauro Martinez Santiago, a seasoned sawmill operator, was attempting to remove a lodged piece of wood from his machine when he bumped a lever, turning on the saw, and severing his left hand across the palm.

"I really thought at the time that I wasn't going to be able to use my hand anymore."

His co-workers reacted quickly, putting his hand in ice and driving Santiago from the mill in Atlanta, Texas, to Texarkana. From there, he was transferred to UAMS, where three hand trauma surgeons were waiting.

"This injury was a clean cut and was really the ideal scenario for reattachment of the hand."

Dr. John Bracey and Dr. Mark Tate were in their first day on faculty at UAMS when they got the phone call, completing the team that performed a 10 hour surgery.

"You have to go through and fix each structure, starting with the bones and building up from there, putting together the tendons and then the arteries to put blood supply into the fingers again, and then putting the veins together and lastly put the nerves together."

Five months after his surgery, Santiago is already able to move his fingers.

"It won't ever be a normal hand, but it'll be a hand that is very functional and can help him with his other tasks."

"Thank you to the surgeons here at UAMS, now I can use my hand."

Santiago says he is grateful for the treatment he received from his team at UAMS.

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