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  • Chinese engineer travels more than 5,400 MILES from Ethiopia to his home hospital to have two fingers he lost in a work accident reattached 17 November 2015 | View comments

    • Chen, an engineer, had two fingers severed in a work accident in Ethiopia
    • He decided to fly more than 5,400 miles to have surgery in Suzhou, China
    • Doctors were able to reattach the fingers and he should now fully recover

    A Chinese engineer decided to travel more than 5,400 miles from Ethiopia to China for surgery when two of his fingers were severed during a work accident.

    The man, named as Chen, had been in Addis Ababa for work when two fingers on his right hand were injured. However, when local doctors said his fingers could not be saved, the 54-year-old endured 25 hours of agony to have reattachment surgery in China, reported People's Daily Online.


    After more than four hours of surgery in his home town of Suzhou, doctors have announced that Chen's fingers have been successfully reattached and were already showing 'signs of life

    According to reports, Chen has been working as a technical advisor in Addis Ababa since the beginning of August this year.

    Chen was supervising the assembly of a textile machinery from his company when the accident happened around 1.30pm local time on August 31.

    He recalled: 'The machine was around six or seven tonnes. I was in charge of a team of people who were assembling the machine.

    'Perhaps it was a language problem but when I said OK, the workers on one side let go but the ones on the other didn't. The machine started to tilt

    Instinctively, Chen put out his hand to stop the machine from falling but instead it crushed his hand.

    Chen said: 'I didn't feel any pain at the time but then I saw my double-gloved hand was seeping blood.' 

    When Chen removed his glove, the damage was obvious.

    Chen's little finger and ring finger were severed at the root, with only skin and tendons connecting the digits to his hand.

    At the local hospital, doctors were able to offer him very little treatment except to bandage his wounds.

    Chen, whose parents were both doctors, had to request to have a tetanus jab and a drip. 


    Local doctors told Chen that he will likely lose the use of his fingers even if they were able to reattach them, which prompted him to book the first flight out of Addis Ababa

    He was able to catch a flight the same evening, which landed in Shanghai 11 hours later.

    However, Chen also had to make the 66-mile journey from Shanghai to Suzhou to receive treatment during rush hour.


    Chen had endured 25 hours of torture by the time he reached the operating room.

    After hours of intensive surgery, doctors were able to reattach his fingers using pins.

    On November 12, Chen had a second surgery to remove the pins, which signified the first step to real recovery for the engineer.

    Xiong Sheng, a doctor at the hospital where Chen was treated, commented that he was extremely lucky.

    The golden period for reattachment surgery is just eight hours.

    During this time, temperatures should be sufficiently low to reduce infections.

    Luckily for Chen, it was the rain season in Addis Ababa, which meant that temperatures were lower than other times of the year.


    Doctors are hopeful that Chen would be to regain most of the use of his hands after surgery

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