Memorial Health surgeons save man’s hand by attaching it to groin area

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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – In April, a 69-year-old Ridgeland man says he was hit by a driver who sped through a stop sign, despite multiple warnings of the dangerous intersection.

“I’ve been through a lot of stuff but never had anything compared to this,” said Ronnie Reynolds, a retired National Guardsman, and junior varsity softball coach.

Reynolds says his car rolled over twice, which seriously injured his hand. Several doctors told him they would have to amputate it.

“I looked down and I said, ‘this is not good'” said Reynolds of his first reaction to his injuries. Doctors say the entirety of Reynolds’ skin and tendons were gone, and his bones were broken and exposed.

After disappointing diagnoses, Reynolds then decided to get a fourth opinion from Dr. Patrick Buchanan, a plastic, hand, and micro-surgeon at Memorial Health. After warning Reynolds about the long recovery process, Dr. Buchanan offered another option: reconstruction.

After transferring tendons and soft tissue from other parts of Reynolds’ body, Buchanan temporarily attached Reynolds’ hand to his groin area and covered it with a flap of skin. After three weeks, it was detached.

“Luckily in the groin area… there’s a thin piece of tissue that has its own blood supply, so for him, that was his best option,” said Dr. Buchanan.

Now that his hand is detached and recovering, Reynolds says he is starting to bounce back. It is still hard for him to move his fingers. But Doctors say he will make a full recovery by the end of the year after intensive physical therapy and a few more surgeries.

“I’m the one who always likes doing everything myself. I can’t do that anymore… so it’s just hard,” Reynolds said of his current condition.

Reynolds says his large family, his softball players, and his doctor have been crucial parts of his support system while he waits until his life goes back to normal.

“I try to coach softball. Can’t do that. I can’t even hit a ball or anything,” he said.

Dr. Buchanan says the recovery has been long, but he now views Reynolds and his family as his own.

“Life is going to throw you curveballs. You either swing and miss or you hit a home run. With [Reynolds], I think we hit a home run,” he said.

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