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Run Time: 49 minutes
Format: Color, NTSC
Genre: Emergency Medicine
Produced For: TLC
First Aired: July 2003
Saving Life and Limb
Shattered Bodies






Saving Life and Limb: Shattered Bodies (2003)

Produced By:
Advanced Medical Prod.
Directed By: Bill Hayes
Written By: Kirk Streb



Episode Title – Shattered Bodies

In emergency medicine dealing with the unexpected is a way of life. But sometimes the injuries are so extreme…the situations so bizarre even the most seasoned rescuers and skilled surgeons are put to the test.

Shattered Bodies documents the stories of incredible, body shattering traumas and the heroic medical care that helped saved the victims. We learn how individuals survive unimaginable injuries through the perfect combination of quick emergency response, surgical excellence and personal courage.

In 1996, Justin McKinney had a car accident that made national news. An accident that put doctors and emergency workers to a test they’d never faced before. Justin was impaled with a six foot pole that went through the windshield, through him and through the seat. More incredibly, he was awake and aware as they extracted him from the vehicle. We learn how surgeons approached the perilous surgery after Justin was transported to the OR with the pole still in place.

Wayne Petteway is the only known victim of an alligator in North Carolina history. During the attack, the alligator bit Wayne’s arms with such force, the snapping bones echoed like gun shots. When the attack was over, Wayne’s left arm was attached by only a few blood vessels and nerves. Through the ingenious harvesting of skin and muscles from other parts of his body, Wayne’s arm has been reconstructed.

Justin Page had his ear bitten off by a dog. His mom found the ear on the sidewalk, put it on ice and raced to get Justin to the nearest hospital. Reattaching the fragile tissue of the ear is one of the more challenging limb reattachments. Part of the success was owed to a surprisingly ancient medical marvel – the blood sucking leech. We see how medical grade leeches are farmed and then delivered to hospitals for use in restoring blood flow to reattached body parts.

Daniel Paitz also needed ear surgery, but not due to an accident. Daniel was born without an ear. Fortunately, his doctor is not only a surgeon, but also an accomplished sculptor who has devised a way to create a realistic ear with a carved section of rib cartilage. We watch as the surgery transforms Daniel to a normal “two-eared” boy.

Steve Hamelin suffered one of the most horrifying kinds of injuries – a severe burn. Although he’ll never look the same again, his doctor Sal Lettieri has applied everything plastic surgery has to offer in order to restore Steve’s appearance and function.

Tim Smith is a living example of courage and transformation. Tim suffered an accident in which his face was literally sheared off by a lawn mower. After over 20 surgeries, Dr. Lettieri has reconstructed a brand new face for Tim.

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