A severely infected raccoon bite caused Melissa Loomis to lose her arm. But thanks to her doctor, she’s now considered the “most advanced amputee in the world.”
Unable to save her arm from the raccoon’s bacteria, surgeon Ajay K. Seth used a groundbreaking new procedure to save Loomis’ remaining nerves, ultimately restoring her ability to feel.
Loomis, 43, says she knew from the first bite that she would suffer severe damage.
“A raccoon latched on my arm, and I knew he bit me, and I could just feel electricity shooting down my arm,” the Canton, Ohio-native says in this exclusive clip from Wednesday’s episode of the syndicated daytime series The Doctors.
This clip contains graphic content.
While Seth did his best to save her arm, the infection had already spread.
“I ended up opening up the entire bottom and top of her arm, because everywhere I went I could see more and more bacteria,” he says. “This is definitely the worst I’ve seen in my entire career.”
“Dr. Seth said, ‘This is it, I’m sorry, I couldn’t save your arm,’ and I told him, ‘Save my life,’ ” Loomis recalls.
He did just that – and more. Seth had recently learned of a new surgery that redirects remaining nerves so they can control the prosthesis using brain signals. Loomis’ situation seemed like the perfect fit for the advanced technique.
“I said, ‘I promise you Melissa, I’m going to make you the most advanced amputee this world has ever had,’ ” Seth says.
Now Loomis can once again feel temperature and pressure.
“I just took the nerves that she had and rewired them, and I found the one, single nerve that goes backwards, that gives her feeling in her hand,” Seth says.