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Man who loses arm regains mobility after experimental surgery

After a workplace accident in 2011 severed his left arm, a 50-year-old man could have lost more than the limb. The man lost so much blood just getting to the hospital he almost died.

Lucky for him, a doctor was able to save both his life and the limb, and then operated on the man to reattach the arm. It took the transplant team 18 hours, but the surgery, using a procedure that is still experimental, was a success.

Almost a year and a half after the accident, the man has some feeling in his hand. Doctors say the muscles and nerves in his arm are reproducing, and give him credit for staying with a stringent rehabilitation regimen. Today he can use his fingers to pick up small items and dress himself. He can hold his wife's hand, and feel it in his. He can pick up his grandchildren, hold them and play with them.

Without such a successful outcome to the surgery, the man would have lost some of his ability to care for his daily needs -- and his independence. It is also likely that he would have lost his source of income and his ability to afford many of his basic necessities.

Many Coloradoans are not so lucky. Some who lose limbs in workplace accidents may never regain the use of their arms or legs to be able to return to work or enjoy the daily routines of their pre-accident life. Collecting workers' compensation benefits may have an especially important impact on their quality of life after such a horrific workplace accident.

Source: KHOU, "Navy vet's arm reattached after workplace injury," Janet St. James, Jan. 3, 2013

Learn more about Colorado workplace accidents, injuries to limbs and workers' compensation by visiting our extremity ratings web page.

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