Surgeons reattach arm severed in pasta machine

Surgeons were able to reattach Brett Bouchard's right arm

CBS Boston

BOSTON - A 17-year-old whose arm was severed in a pasta-making machine has his arm back thanks to some surgeons at Massachusetts General Hospital, CBS Boston reports.

Brett Bouchard severed his right arm just below the elbow. He was working at an upstate New York Italian restaurant when his arm got caught in a commercial pasta-making machine.

"After that I went upstairs and put a tourniquet on it and went to the hospital," he said

A large surgical team assembled at Massachusetts General Hospital as Bouchard was airlifted to Boston.

"It wasn't a sharp cut," said one of the surgeons, Dr. Kyle Eberlin. "His arm had actually been sort of pulled off which makes it a more difficult injury to treat."

Usually an accident this serious means the arm is gone for good, but in a complex and lengthy series of operations, Mass General doctors reattached it.

"It has been done before, but it's not a very common operation," Eberlin said.

Another surgeon on the team, Dr. Curtis Cetrulo, said, "Because of his age he has a chance to re-grow his nerves very well, and have sensibility at the end of his replanted arm."

Though right now Bouchard cannot feel or move his fingers, there are more surgeries in store.

"Our plan is to take a muscle from his groin that's sacrificeable and connect the nerve up so that when that muscle fires, he can move his arm," Cetrulo said.

Brett's mother, Rebecca Martin, has been by his side through it all.

"He's not going to be a piano player, but he should have some function and feeling in that hand. And that's the goal," she said.

Bouchard could be released from the hospital next week to start rehab before more surgeries are scheduled.

"It's given me a new outlook on life," he said. "It's making me appreciate things a lot more, and I never knew how much people cared."