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Michigan Man Accidentally Saws Off Thumb–So Doctors Replace It With One Of His Toes

WOOD TV8/YouTube

Aiden Adkins, of Carson City, Michigan accidentally amputated his thumb with a miter saw while making a gift for his then-girlfriend.

Adkins said he didn’t notice right away when his woodworking project went horribly awry.

“It didn’t hurt at all, not even a little bit. I realized that what I had seen fly was not anything to do with the piece of wood. It actually was my thumb I had seen fly.” 

Unfortunately for Aiden, the window of time in which surgeons would be able to reattach his thumb was rapidly ticking away—and he couldn’t find his thumb!

The detached digit had gone flying after being amputated by the saw, and was nowhere to be found by either Aiden or his family.

Needing to seek medical care to stop the bleeding and save the rest of his hand, Aiden gave up the search and went to the hospital. He ended up going without a thumb for 4 months.

In the end, he decided to undergo surgery to replace the lost digit so he could get back to his favorite activities like taxidermy, fishing and target shooting—all of which are easier with two thumbs.

On August 20th, he underwent surgery at the University of Michigan Hospital to remove his left index toe and attach it to where his thumb used to be.

Aiden shared photos and video of his hand and foot post-surgery back in August. His attitude was hopeful then, and has continued to be hopeful and determined throughout his recovery and subsequent therapy.

Adkins has been doing intensive occupational therapy since his surgery and has regained a remarkable range of movement and strength in the new digit

Kelly Nye, Adkins’ occupational therapist at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital’s Hand Therapy Program, said his progress has been outstanding.

“His thumb does bend and straighten pretty well. That’s the most motion I’ve ever seen out of a toe-to-thumb transfer.” 

Adkins largely attributes his successful recovery to his work with Nye.

“I definitely wouldn’t be as far as what I am if it wasn’t for you helping me.” 

WOOD TV8 interviewed Aiden about his experience. 

Aiden and his family still haven’t found his missing thumb. He told WOOD reporters that he hopes they do eventually find it.

He said he wants to taxidermy the escaped digit and wear it as a reminder of everything he has been through since he lost it.

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Written by Winona Sioux Christnot-Peters

Winona Sioux Christnot-Peters is a writer/web designer and aspiring librarian based in Northern Maine. When not writing or in class, they devote much of their time to multiple non-profit organizations, largely focusing on LGBTQ+ rights and animal welfare. During rare moments of free time Winona enjoys video and tabletop games, as well as various nerdy fiber crafts such as crocheting (mainly amigurumi Pokémon, cat toys, and blankets) and counted cross stitch.