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Dr. Max Gomez: Incredible Emergency Microsurgery Saves NYC Man’s Fingers

Home Improvement Accident Left Jeffrey Bowden Initially With 5 Severed Digits
Jeffrey Bowden's left hand following microsurgery that doctors believe will save his five severed fingers. (Photo: CBS 2)

Jeffrey Bowden’s left hand following microsurgery that doctors believe will save his five severed fingers. (Photo: CBS 2)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It could have been a holiday tragedy. Instead, a Staten Island man’s father saved the day.

A construction accident left him facing amputation of all five fingers, but an amazing microsurgery saved his hand, CBS 2’s Dr. Max Gomez reported Friday.

By now we’ve heard many stories of legs, arms and hands being reattached, but fingers are much harder. Bones, blood vessels and nerves are that much smaller. Even tougher is to get the intricate tendons, pulleys and joints in fingers to work again.

That’s what surgeons faced with Jeffrey Bowden.

The holiday season was almost anything but joyous for the 39-year-old.

“There was blood all over the deck over here, and then I wrapped it up in my sweatshirt,” Bowden said.

The Staten Island CPA said he was working on a home improvement project the weekend before Thanksgiving, and had a terrible accident.

“Somehow my hand went through the blade of the saw and cut off five of my fingers,” Bowden said.

Actually, he nearly severed them. Doctors at a local emergency room told Bowden they may have to go ahead and amputate the fingers of his left hand, but his father called his doctor at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Manhattan, who connected his son with hand surgeon Dr. Philip Torina.

Bowden was transferred to Mount Sinai for a hand-saving operation, but that was more than nine hours after the accident.

“Because it was delayed it made surgery more difficult and complicated,” said Dr. Torina, a microvascular and reconstructive surgeon.

The 10-and-a-half hour procedure was made possible partly because Bowden’s original doctors had kept his fingers in ice.

“We were able to reconnect his index finger with microsurgery, re-vascularize the finger, fix all the bone injuries and skin injuries as well,” Torina said.

Bowden told Gomez on Friday he’s started intensive physical therapy, working to carefully flex his reattached fingers. It’s too early to tell for sure, but he said he’s hopeful he’ll regain nearly full use of his hand.

“I get emotional just thinking about it, how lucky I really am,” Bowden said.

It has been more than a month since the accident, so it’s pretty likely that all five of Bowden’s fingers will survive, Gomez reported. Now it’s a question of that physical and occupational therapy restoring flexibility and strength in those fingers.

Bowden also said he’s going to limit his construction projects from now on to assembling dollhouses for his kids.

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