"I was involved in an accident that pulled four fingers off my right hand," said Thornton. Amazingly, doctors were able to transplant two of Thornton's toes -- one from each foot -- onto his hand. As for his index finger, Thornton has a leech to thank.More pictures you may not want to look at here...
"She went out, got the leech," said Thornton. "She put it on my finger, left it there for about 40 minutes, and the finger bled from the tip for two days after that."
Microsurgeon Greg Buncke said that the leeches are, in their own way, exceptional. "They're not the typical leeches you get out of a lake," said Buncke. "They are bred specifically for medical use. You use the leech to actually help drain the blood out of the finger," said Buncke. "Actually the leech has in its saliva some anticoagulant called herudin that helps with the blood flow in the finger."
Buncke said that he keep the leeches hungry so that they're always ready to go to work.
Ironworker's Fingers Replaced With Toes: Leeches Used In Surgery
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