Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Precious digit

She was an independent 10 year old girl. Being the eldest amongst her seven siblings , she holds a lot of responsibilities at home. Being the child of Indonesian parents with PR certainly grew her up being more matured than most of her age group peers. Being on the lower social status group - I suppose its just a normal part of their life story.

It was at 9pm and she was doing her washing after settling her youngest brother. She did not realize that the spin function of her old washing machine was halted because of the laundry's irregularity. She thought it was done - and put her left hand in to bring out the clothes. She was tired as her youngest brother was caught with fever and she had to handle her the whole evening.

SNAP !! The machine made its turn and trapped her finger with the spin. To her horror she cried out loud in pain and when she looked at her finger.. it was almost amputated. Her mother came to look what was going on and then shouted for her husband who was having his dinner. Her father panicked seeing the index finger hanging with blood spurting out like a pipe.

They managed to bring their child to the hospital soon enough , the father was still undress and looking very worried - We started the surgery to reimplant her finger at about 1030pm ; still witihin the crucial 6 hours stage. She was hurting - but she maintained her calmness. She was not crying or shouting in fear - but instead looking composed and holding on. I was amazed by her courage and guts. After taking the consent from her parents - we pushed her into the OT alone.

She was very brave. I could see it in her eyes - as she was no typical 10 year old going for an operation.I was praying that the hand surgeons would be able to save her most precious finger. She was really calm - when instructed her to breath on my mask ; very cooperative . I induced her and it was a smooth procedure. I was so tempted to give my brachial plexus block , but she's too young to go through that ; making her sleep for a while would be a temporary relief for her worried young mind.

Initially the cut did not look too bad as her nerves were amazingly intact. Unfortunately , her digital artery was cut really bad - as it was a twirling injury - making the surgeons life difficult and challenged their expertise. 1 hour became 2 and then became 3 and so forth. I was praying that the op would be successful and did not mind staying up for her to do the case.

At 3.30 am ; the surgeons were going nowhere - the little finger looked dusky and unhealthy. There was no way for them to reattach the blood supply to the finger ; they tried a graft but it failed. The big decision was made - the had to AMPUTATE the finger as it was not salvagable anymore - and the surgeons tried all their might I must say on that Sunday morning.

I felt so sorry for her.. thinking about not just the immediate trauma but her future undertakings. Would she be able to cope her frustration of not being as normal as anybody else? Will she be strong to accept her fate at the age of 10 ? If it was because of fire crackers ; then maybe the sympathy would be not as much as how it is with this little girl.

I reversed her well from anaesthesia - and she gave me the " is my finger ok ? " look when she opened her sweet cherry eyes. I did not say a thing ; but just smiled. I asked her if there was any pain and she said nay. She was still dozy and sleepy - but i cannot imagine how she'll be depressed silently when she's fully aware about the fate of her hard working little finger...


Stupe said...


a friend almost had his index finger rip off as a thorny vine got caught between the index and middle finger as he went downhill while cycling in Batu Dam...

he as lucky not to have any nerve damaged.

as for this lady...i feel for her.

DrFrappucino said...

Argghhhhh! I got depressed just by reading this piece... Damn you washing machine.. Grrrrr.

Beautifully written though.