Man's Arm Reattached in Florida
Mar. 11, 1999
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) _ A doctor reattached a man's left arm after he fell off a ladder while trimming a tree and severed the limb with a chainsaw.
Mariano Mergarejo, 66, lost his balance and fell almost 20 feet Sunday. The chainsaw cut off his forearm. As he lay dazed on the ground, his wife wrapped the limb in a towel and his 30-year-old son called paramedics.
``I was very sad, more sad than frightened,'' Mergarejo said. ``I didn't want to lose my arm.''
Dr. Joanne Werntz, the trauma surgeon on call at Orlando Regional Medical Center, performed the nine-hour operation, getting to work minutes after the accident. In such cases, time is crucial to success.
``You only have one chance,'' Ms. Werntz said. ``It's worth putting the limb back on and it's better to at least try.''
Mergarejo must undergo another operation and six months of physical therapy. Ms. Werntz said it may be two years before he regains feeling in his hand.
``It was significant damage, but he will have feeling,'' she said. ``The emotional and psychological aspects are better than having to deal with an amputation and prosthesis.''