Man’s severed thumb replaced with big toe

A cobbler who severed one of his thumbs in an industrial accident has had the digit replaced with his big toe.

David Lee cut through his right thumb while trimming the heel of a shoe at his shop in Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire.

The set of operations to amputate Mr Lee’s toe and attach it to his hand took about 10 hours in total. He said the reconstruction enabled him to return to work and do “what I love again”.

Mr Lee, 40, was admitted to hospital in Mansfield after the accident on 9 January last year and was referred to the Pulvertaft Hand Centre at the Royal Derby Hospital.

Jill Arrowsmith, one of the surgeons involved, said: “Not having any of the thumb can be very disabling, especially for those who do a manual job.

“There are lots of different ways to reconstruct thumbs but using the big toe gives the best functional and cosmetic benefits, as it is the thing most like a thumb on the body.”

Mr Lee said he was “overwhelmed with admiration” for the staff who helped him during his operation and recovery.

“I’m doing what I love again and the team have given me the opportunity to do that. I really appreciate them because, if not for them, I wouldn’t have been able to get to where I am today,” he added.

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