North Carolina teen's arm re-attached after off-road vehicle accident

A North Carolina teen's arm was surgically re-attached after an off-road vehicle accident severed his limb above the elbow. Now we're learning what it took for doctors to save the teen and his arm.

It took 9.5 hours of surgery back in January but, miraculously, doctors at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center were able to reattach Tyler Hughes' arm.

The 13-year-old was driving a utility terrain vehicle in the snow when it flipped and the roll bar severed his left arm.

"Once we identified the nerves to his arm were intact, we decided to go ahead and try to save the arm," said Dr. Matthew Goldman.

A team of vascular surgeons removed a vein from Tyler's leg to bypass an artery in his arm while orthopedic surgeons repaired his bones.

Doctors say Tyler's mom's quick thinking of tying a scarf around his arm to stop the massive blood loss saved his life.

His mother saved his life at the scene," said Dr. Goldman.

Today, Tyler is slowing gaining function and it could be years before his nerves grow back and regenerate.

But Tyler and his family are thankful and want everyone to know the importance of staying calm and immediately applying pressure to stop bleeding in any accident when minutes matter most.

"I'll never forget Dr. Goldman walking out and telling our family that not only had they saved my son's life, they also were able to save his arm," said Crystal. "They did it, it's on there, and it's working. We are just so blessed and forever grateful for Tyler's care and my hope is to share his story and that it can help someone

Doctors say the quicker you can get blood flow back to the extremity, the better. Since that initial surgery back in January, Tyler has had six total surgeries. He's now able to grip various items, such as door handles and light bags.
Copyright © 2021 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.