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A father-of-three has undergone pioneering surgery to have his fingers placed with toes after a horrific accident with an industrial food blender at work.
Jeremy Payton, was the first patient to have a hold hand replaced with toes after the accident 16-years-ago – and now wants to publicly thank his surgeon for his efforts.
Mr Payton’s four fingers and half of his right hand thumb were severed in a industrial food blender and an attempt to sew two of his digits back on failed.
At the time no-one had replaced a whole hand with toes but plastic surgeon, Mark Pickford agreed to carry out the pioneering operation, reports.
Without it Mr Payton, from Hartley, in Kent, said he would have been unable to drive or carry out basic everyday tasks like holding a pen or peeling vegetables.
The 56-year-old said: “When the accident happened I didn’t realise how serious it was until I saw my fingers were gone.
“I initially thought I’d just taken some skin off.”
In fact, factory production manager Mr Payton had only a stump remaining.
Someone had forgotten to put the safety guard back on the blenders rotating blades and they had sliced through his hand, mangling his fingers in the process.
Yet today the keen golfer describes the accident as one of the best thing that happened to him.
He said: “In some ways I can say I am better off that it happened.
It took the accident for me to understand what I really had and what I had to lose.
“You have to view life as precious. And when I was in hospital in East Grinstead, I would look across the ward and see other people far worse off than myself.
“Then I understood I had only lost four fingers.
“That is why I want to speak about it now to get some recognition for Queen Victoria Hospital.”
The pioneering surgery, which even today has not been repeated, took several operations to complete.
Surgeons took second and third toes from Mr Paydon’s right foot in one go and the big toe from his left foot to replace his thumb, on another occasion.
It meant he had a new hand which gave him the dexterity he needed to lead a normal life, helping to bring up newly born twins and a young toddler son alongside his wife, Sue.
He said the accident also meant he spent more time with his growing family, something he believes would not have happened had it not occurred.
His consultant, Mr Pickford admits the case was unusual.
He said: “In fact there have been no other cases requiring extensive reconstruction of this sort after amputation of all digits on one hand.
“Toe implants are most commonly performed to help children born with missing fingers, rather than adults who have been injured.”
The pair will meet between Christmas and New Year.
Mr Payton said it will be an emotional reunion – but also of overwhelming gratitude.
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