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Doctors Replace Man’s Severed Thumb With Big Toe

February 22, 1989

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) _ Doctors used a man’s big toe to replace his right thumb after the finger was severed during an industrial accident, hospital officials said.

David Hemmert, 19, of Owosso underwent the 14-hour operation Jan. 24, said officials at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital here.

″To tell you the truth, when I was told about this kind of surgery, I wasn’t too hip on it at first,″ Hemmert said Tuesday. ″After thinking it all over, I decided to go for it - and I gained more than I lost.″

Hemmert was working for a window frame company when he accidentally cut off his right thumb with an industrial saw, said his surgeon, Dr. David Hing. The severed digit was replaced with the big toe on the man’s right foot.

Hing said the man’s new ″thumb″ will allow him to again grasp objects with his injured hand.

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