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John's Story

John's Story

Home of my Phenomenal Surgeon

"I practically cut off my ring finger at the middle joint with a table saw. I was working on a house we own in Hudson, New Hampshire. I had just turned the table saw off and I turned and my fingers draped right across the blade. I had to go to the hospital with my right ring finger flopping. I went to Southern New Hampshire Medical Center’s emergency room and then was taken by ambulance to UMass Worcester. They were planning my surgery for later in the week when I found out that the best hand surgeon in New England is right here in Keene—Dr. Paul Bettinger.

My finger was basically gone. I thought I was going to lose it. Thankfully Dr. Bettinger is a phenomenal surgeon. He reattached tendons, nerves, arteries, and the joint. He worked wonders with what was a nightmare. Now I’ve got pretty much got my regular functioning back."

Hancock, NH

"John had a horrible injury to his right ring finger when he cut it on a table saw. He lacerated the palm side of the finger at the middle joint and completely cut through the skin, 2 tendons, both nerves and arteries, a joint stabilizing ligament called the volar plate, and part of the bone and joint. A portion of the bone was actually removed by the saw blade. The tendons had retracted back into the base of his finger, like rubber bands, and were not visible through his original wound. It was a mess. He was unable to bend his finger at either the middle or end joint. His repair took over an hour and included removing dirt and debris from his joint and bone. A special tendon retriever was used to find the retracted tendons, and pull them into the wound for repair. Both of his flexor tendons were repaired with very strong sutures. Finally, the volar plate ligament, that stabilizes the middle joint, was repaired. This ligament was repaired back to the bone using a special mini bone anchor that allows the ligament to be sutured back to the bone that it originally attached to. Due to the destruction by the saw blade, the nerves and arteries were shredded and irrepairable.

John required splinting and several months of extensive hand therapy by Sara Hamilton to regain motion and strength in his hand. Sara is a certified hand therapist and works in our outpatient occupational therapy department. John worked very hard at rehab and regained a good deal of motion and strength. He is back to using his hand for all activities."

Paul Bettinger, MD
Hand Surgeon, Orthopaedics, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene