Teen broke thumb. Drs replaced it with her Big Toe
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Britney Thomas, a 17-year-old Australian cricket player, fractured her thumb during a game. Doctors reassured her that a simple surgery and a short recovery in a hard plaster cast would soon have her back on the pitch. So Thomas expected a routine procedure at Latrobe Regional Hospital, a medical center about two hours from Melbourne.

Six days later she was back in excruciating pain, and when the doctor peeled off her cast, she was horrified to see a totally dead thumb. She'd soon learn that thanks to an error by the hospital, the thumb would need to be amputated - and replaced with her toe.

"It was an uncomplicated fracture, an uncomplicated surgery and a pretty awful mistake," Tom Ballantyne, a lawyer who represents Thomas, told The Washington Post.

The shocking medical mishap was first reported this week in an investigation by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation into problems at regional hospitals in Australia, where routine injuries have had dire consequences for patients. Doctors at other hospitals have ignored necrotic infections and misplaced breathing tubes, leaving patients severely disabled or even dead, the channel reported. The series has spurred several regional hospitals to publicly account for shortcomings.

Thomas' gruesome case came after she played in a cricket match in Hong Kong, when she split a bone in her left thumb. An orthopaedic surgeon corrected the fracture in routine surgery, then set the injury in a plaster cast.

When the teen returned days later with intense pain in her hand, the doctor found her thumb was swollen and dark purple. The problem was obvious: It was still bound with an elastic tourniquet mistakenly left in place after the surgery.

"They pulled the plaster off and it was very dark, looked very dead," Leanne Keating, Thomas's mother, told a reporter the ABC.

Most of her thumb had died, she learned. Doctors first applied leeches to try to encourage blood to return to the dead tissue and then sewed it to Thomas' groin in hopes of restoring the thumb's blood flow and nerve response. Eventually, a surgeon amputated the maimed appendage, then cut off Thomas' big toe to replace it.

The hospital's mistake left Thomas with severely limited use of her left hand. Her foot had to be significantly altered in surgery, too. To replace Thomas' big toe, doctors took a piece of her hip and created a new bone for her foot.

"It was a really basic, gross error of leaving the tourniquet on," Ballantyne told The Post.

Source: https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/australian-cricketer-broke-thumb-doctors-replaced-it-with-her-big-toe-2099321
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