After slashing his left hand during the Paris train attack, U.S. hero Spencer Stone is on the road to recovery
U.S. Airman Spencer Stone is “doing well” and making an unexpectedly rapid recovery, sources at the U.S. Army’s Medical Center in Landstuhl, Germany, tell PEOPLE.
It’s been almost two weeks since Stone, 23, and pals Alek Skarlatos, 22, and Anthony Sadler, 23, overpowered Ayoub El Khazzani after he allegedly opened fire on a Paris-bound train.
Stone, who sustained a serious injury in the struggle, is receiving daily occupational therapy at the Army facillity. He is expected to regain full use of his hand within three to four months.
Two new photos released on Tuesday and posted on Facebook show Stone with therapists at the Army medical base where he is receiving out-patient care.
“He looks good and is progressing well,” says a source who has spoken with him at the facility. “He’s in good spirits.”
During the train attack, Stone’s left hand was slashed with a boxcutter. A deep cut along the inside of his hand at base of his thumb severed both nerves and tendon. Emergency surgery at France’s Lille University Hospital immediately following the attack successfully repaired the damage to both, according to those in charge of Stone’s continuing care, and the prognosis for his full recovery is excellent.
“Normally, when a nerve is severed and then repaired, it could take up to a year before full sensation returns,” Landstuhl’s Chief of Occupational Therapy, Lt. Col Arthur Yeager, explains in a post accompanying the photos.
Stone has already experienced the return of sensation in his thumb, which Yaeger credits “a testament to the skill of the surgeon.” At Landstuhl, Stone has been fitted with a custom-designed splint to immobilize his thumb for the next six weeks while the tendon repairs. He receives therapy daily and is expected to regain full use within three-four months, Yeager estimates.
Prior to the attack, Stone was as an Ambulance Services Technician stationed at the U.S. Air Force’s Lajes Field in the Azores in Portugal. He was on vacation with his two good friends, Skarlatos and Sadler, when they and British citizen Chris Norman subdued armed gunman El-Khazzani. Employing first aid, Stone saved the life of fourth hero, Mark Moogalian, keeping his injured hand pressed down on Moogalian’s left carotid artery for 20 minutes while the train detoured into Arras. For their bravery, Stone and the others received France’s Legion d’honneur from President Francois Hollande.
“He looks great for how recently he had surgery,” Yeager’s statement concludes. “He has very little swelling, the wound looks excellent and there’s no sign of infection, and he has really good range of motion. Everything looks great, so far.”
No official date has been announced for Stone’s discharge from the hospital charge and return to the U.S.