AUSTIN (KXAN) — It’s been three months since a horrific day at work for Augusto Marcotulio SiriGomez.
He hadn’t been at work for more than an hour at his job in Georgetown on January 28, when he needed to cut a piece of wood. He turned on the table saw, placed the wood near it and that’s when it happened.
“My hand just slipped and I cut my fingers on the blade,” he explained, speaking in his native language, Spanish. He had cut off four of his fingers from his index to his pinky on his left hand. “One fell over there, another one went over there,” he pointed to the floor. “And it was only my pinky finger that stayed hanging by a tiny bit of skin.”
In complete shock, he said he picked up his fingers off the floor and a friend who was working nearby rushed him to their nearest hospital. When they arrived, he was then rushed by ambulance to Seton Family of Doctors in downtown Austin. He would need reconstructive plastic surgery, a specialty offered at Dell Seton Medical Center’s Reconstructive Plastic Surgery unit.
He spent 10 to 12 hours in surgery while plastic surgeons restored the bones in his fingers, the tendons, nerves, arteries and the veins.
“The hardest thing about all of those things is that they’re in a very small space,” said Dr. Brian Kelley, one of the plastic surgeons who worked on SiriGomez’ hand. “That’s a half inch diameter containing two nerves, two arteries, multiple veins, multiple tendons and obviously the bones which take up most of the central space.”
But SiriGomez came in with the ideal situation — with his fingers he had picked up off the floor, his hand was protected by a bag, and it was being cooled with ice so the tissue wasn’t dying.
WARNING: The photo you are about to see could be graphic for some. It shows SiriGomez’ hand after his surgery.
This is Kelley’s specialty, and while he said it is rare to have someone cut off all their fingers, the odds of people having this type of restoration isn’t that rare because of what the doctors at Seton are capable of, it being a level one trauma center.
“We can do the highest level of hand surgery at this hospital,” he said. “We’re really blessed to be reconstructive plastic surgeons here.” Kelley expects to see more people coming in with these types of horrific accidents as the weather gets warmer.
“Especially now we come into summer months, people are working on their yards, people are working on their decks, people are using lawn mowers, we see these kinds of injuries much more frequently.”
Though SiriGomez is anxious to get back to work because he has a nine-year-old and 13-year-old daughter to support, he said his main focus right now is having his hand be fully healed.
“Right now, I just need to have patience so that my fingers will get better so I can keep working because my goal is to work, I still have a lot to work for.”
He will continue to do therapy in the coming months, and although he can only bend his hand half of the way, it’s progress he looks forward to every doctor’s appointment that he has. He will need to have one more surgery in the future because the bones in his ring and pinky finger have still not stuck together perfectly yet.
“The doctors have done a miracle with my fingers,” he said. “I have my four fingers right here, thanks to God, thanks to the doctors that God has given the wisdom so they could do this for me,” SiriGomez said.