June 12, 2019 by John Fernandez
South Miami Hospital Doctor Saves Engineer’s Finger Post-Hurricane Maria (Video)
As Manuel “Manny” Kianes-Rivera, a JetBlue Airways engineer, hunkered down in his home in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico, winds outside were reaching 150 mph.
Hurricane Maria had became so strong that one of the windows of his home completely blew off the concrete. When he ran to the third story of his home to close the door to the bedroom, in an effort to save the rest of the rooms, a powerful gust blew through the house, slamming the door in his face.
“I could get out of the way, but my finger didn’t,” recalls Mr. Kianes-Rivera.
Video: The Baptist Health News Team hears from Manny Kianes-Rivera and the team from South Miami Hospital. Video by Steve Pipho.
Since the eye of the hurricane still hadn’t passed, he still had to endure the pain and wouldn’t be able to reach a hospital for another 19 hours. Due to the limited resources, doctors in Puerto Rico weren’t able to do much about Manny’s right index finger, which was nearly severed.
He contacted his supervisor at JetBlue to let him know that he wouldn’t be in for work and explained the situation. His supervisor, Mike Torrent, although glad to hear from Manny, told him not to worry about work. But Mr. Torrent knew that time was of the essence and began investigating ways to get Manny help. Ultimately, JetBlue Airways made arrangements to fly Mr. Kianes-Rivera off the island on one of its humanitarian flights, and bring him to South Florida where he could be treated for his injury.
Four days after the hurricane, Manny was at the emergency department at South Miami Hospital where hand and orthopedic surgeon, Roberto Miki, M.D., and a team was standing by to assess the condition of the injury and perform emergency surgery. Dr. Miki was able to save a portion of his finger thus preventing the condition from becoming life-threatening. Dr. Miki said of the injury: “He came in with a pretty bad injury since the bone and tendon were still exposed, which is very high risk for infection.”
The surgery was a complete success. With some rehab, he should be on the road to a quick recovery and back working with his hands in a few months.