SF Surgeon Takes Pay Cut to Replace Man's Thumb with Toe

San Francisco surgeons are replacing a Mississippi man's missing left thumb with one of his toes.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A man from Mississippi comes to Bay Area to get a new thumb, after he lost it during a work accident. Where did he get it? From his big toe. NBC Bay Area Jean Elle report

    There's got to be a foot joke in here somewhere, but we don't have it handy.

    A Mississippi man had a missing thumb replaced with one of his toes at St. Mary's Medical Center on Wednesday, according to the San Francisco Appeal online newspaper.

    Michael Stevens, 42, of Pearl, Miss., was working on a bulldozer's radiator fan in his job as an auto mechanic when he lost his left thumb, according to the newspaper. Workman's compensation wanted to give him only cosmetic surgery to replace the thumb; he needed a working opposable digit in order to continue at his job, the newspaper reported.

    Graphic Content: Man's Thumb Replaced with Toe

    [BAY] Graphic Content: Man's Thumb Replaced with Toe
    WARNING: This video contains graphic content inside a surgery room. A Mississippi man had a missing thumb replaced with one of his toes at St. Mary's Medical Center on Feb. 29, 2012. Michael Stevens, 42, of Pearl, Miss., was working on a bulldozer's radiator fan in his job as an auto mechanic when he lost his left thumb.

    "He was told [by his insurance company] he had to live with it [the injury]," said Dr. Charles Lee, Chief of Plastic Surgery and Director of Reconstructive Microsurgery at St. Mary's, who performed the surgery Wednesday.

    Stevens and his wife scoured the country until they found Lee, who is doing the surgery for "70 percent less" than his normal pay, according to the newspaper.

    Stevens will have to adjust to life walking minus the toe, but he should be able to move all his fingers within five weeks, and be able to use his new thumb normally in about a year.

    At which point, he'll be able to go back to work.