A New York teenager, Brett Bouchard, is a lucky young man. Following a freaky accident at work that severed his right arm, the 17-year-old underwent four surgeries in hopes that it could be reattached. On Saturday, it was revealed that the operations were a success and he should have the near full usage of his arm in the future.
On April 24, Bouchard was attempting to clean out an industrial pasta maker at his place of employment, an Italian restaurant in Massena, New York. While doing so, the machine somehow turned on. It cut off his right arm, right below his elbow. Bravely, the young man managed to maintain a calm demeanor long enough to cover the wound before getting himself a medical attention.
“I went upstairs, put a tourniquet on and went to the hospital,” he said to reporters about that scary day. It was his quick thinking and mode of action that actually helped the doctors to attach the limb. Dr. Kyle Eberlin from the local hospital in Massena was called in, in hopes of treating the serious injury. Although it was not a sharp cut, Eberlin stated that there was still some extremely serious damage to the arm. “His arm has actually been sort of pulled off, which makes it a more difficult injury to treat,” Eberlin said.
Six hours after the accident, the New York teen was flown from New York to Massachusetts General Hospital. 20 minutes after his arrival, a surgical team of around 15 people worked on the first of four surgeries to attach the arm back to Bouchard.
The four surgeries Bouchard has gone through have been daunting, but necessary. The first, in which the doctors reattached the arm, took nearly 10 hours. The third, in which skin was grafted from other parts of his body, took around 14. Throughout the entire ordeal, the young man managed to keep a brave demeanor. According to Dr. Curtis Cetrulo, who is also treating Bouchard, there have been over forty hours of operations that the 17-year-old has gone through.
Bouchard’s mother, Rebecca Martin, told NBC News that her son has always had a resilient nature. It showed from the moment he managed to make a tourniquet for himself immediately after the accident. “He says that he doesn’t know how he managed to do that,” she admitted, “but he’s always been that way.”
The healing process has been slow, but it is working. There is not much feeling in his arm as of yet, but Bouchard can raise and lower it at his will. He is unable to move his hand, but the doctors say that as time progresses and his nerves continue to grow back, there will be movement there as well. Bouchard strongly believes that his mother and his faith got him through the troubling ordeal.
“God is real,” Bouchard believes. “If he wasn’t, I don’t know if I would have been able to get through this.”
The New York teen has gotten his arm back following the freaky accident, but he still has a long way to go. More surgeries are said to be coming in the future and there will be many hours of tough rehabilitation to go through. However, Brett Bouchard does not seem to be too worried about that. “I’m feeling great,” he said to the Daily News on Thursday. “I’m just focused on my recovery and into getting better.”
By Jonathan Brown