Man receives surgery to reattach thumbs after work accident

Leeches provide post-operation help

Port St. Lucie, FL. – An amazing story of how modern medicine and an ancient creature are being combined to hopefully help a young man recover from a tragic accident.

These much-maligned creatures have been around for centuries, but blood sucking leeches serve a vital purpose in modern medicine.

Jared Lange, 21, lost both thumbs in an accident at his job in Port St. Lucie.

“These are what you use to oppose. You can't even hold things without your thumbs you can't even tie your shoelaces,” Lange said. 

There were no specialist who could perform the delicate and difficult surgery to reattach the thumbs in Port St. Lucie, so he was transported to South Florida with this thumbs carefully protected.

"You have to put them not directly on ice, wrap them in gauze, then put them in a bag (and) then keep them cool. You don't put them directly on ice because you can burn them," doctors said.

During a 12-hour operation at Plantation General, plastic surgeon Dr. George Dreszer re-attached micro muscles and vessels, with some less than a millimeter.

Lange's mom, Lita, a nurse, not only praises (the doctors skills, but the benefits of leeches postoperatively.

Because of the length of time between when the accident happened and when he finally underwent surgery, it’s still uncertain if the operation will be a success.

If there are complications the next step would be to replace Lange's damaged thumbs with two of his toes.