Cattle worker's severed thumb is replaced by his TOE

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer

A man whose thumb was severed by a bull has had it replaced with his own toe.

Cattle worker Zac Mitchell had his hand kicked into a fence by a bull while he was working on a farm in Western Australia.

The 20-year-old lost his thumb in the incident and it was placed in a cooler with some ice so it could be preserved and surgically reattached.

However, surgeons were unable to put the thumb back and so resorted to using Mr Mitchell’s toe in its place.

Lead plastic surgeon Dr Sean Nicklin, who operated on Mr Mitchell at the Sydney Eye Hospital two weeks ago, revealed that the patient was a little reluctant about the procedure at first.

Zac Mitchell’s thumb was severed when a bull kicked his hand into a fence (Sydney Eye Hospital)

He said: “It is a bit of a crazy idea – they [patients] do not want to be injured in another part of their body.

“[However] even if you have got four good fingers, if you do not have something to pinch against them, your hand has lost a huge amount of its function.”

The Sydney Eye Hospital said it was rare to transplant a complete toe, with patients usually undergoing partial toe relocations.

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Dr Neckline added: “A lot of people think their balance and walking is going to be significantly affected which it generally isn’t.

Mr Mitchell’s mum, Karen, said her son was recovering well and his walking was “almost back to normal”.

He will now need more than 12 months of rehabilitation, but plans to return to farm work once he is fully recovered.

Top pic: Sydney Eye Hospital