Carlos Mariotti didn’t expect to lose the ability to make a call or brush his teeth when he walked into work about a year ago. Mariotti, 43, a machine operator in Sao Ludgero, Brazil recalls that the machine he normally used to manufacture plastic cups and plates wasn’t working right. “We had to switch it off and start it again,” Daily Mail.
What happened next was unthinkable.
His left hand, caught in between two coil rollers, was ripped to shreds in a bloody mess. He struggled to get his hand free while fellow workers rushed to his aid. He’d lost all the skin on the palm and the back of his hand and all the nerves and veins. He’d also lost the tops of two of his fingers.
In the ER, doctors told him that his hand may have to be amputated; the damage to the tissues, nerves and veins was too severe. However, Dr. Boris Brandao, an orthopedic surgeon at Santa Otilia Foundation Hospital, had other ideas. He saw Mariotti’s mangled hand and came up with the remarkable idea to sew his hand inside his stomach to promote healing. Although Brandao had never performed this surgery before, he knew it was possible.
Brandao created a soft tissue pocket inside Mariotti’s stomach so the flesh from his belly would fuse with the back of Mariotti’s hand and cover it. This also prevented infection and necrosis from flourishing and helped the damaged hand get a steady supply of blood, vital to restoring muscle and tissue.
For six weeks, Mariotti’s hand rested in his abdomen before it could be removed. That month and a half was incredibly painful, and he relied on his wife and young son to dress and feed him. “Every day I reminded myself that I couldn't take my hand out because it was in a pocket. I was terrified I'd break the stitches and damage my chances of recovery,” Mariotti said.
Mariotti, who has now been through three surgeries—and will have to face more in order to reconstruct his fingers—remains optimistic. He remarks, “Now I need to complete the journey, rebuild my life and return to work to support my family.”