Last week young Lilly (who is about 3) was playing in the garden with some of her cousins. As kids anywhere will do, they were imitating the actions of adults, which in the garden involves chopping things with a bush knife. Little Lilly's little finger happened to get in the way of a chop. It was cut nearly all the way through. We could have sewn it back together, but it would not have been a functional finger, since we couldn't have reattached all those little tendons and tiny nerves that make a finger work. A hand surgeon and a neurosurgeon working together with microsurgical techniques could have done a pretty fair job, but it still wouldn't have been perfect. If we had sewn it together it would have just been in her way, more of a hindrance than a help.
So we had to (as we say) "complete the amputation." I helped Michelle the medical student with the part where you have to remove the remnant of bone, and control the bleeding. She took over and closed the soft tissues and the skin.
Lilly saw me today for a wound check. I removed her stitches, replaced them with a strip of sterile tape and placed a new bandage. For a little girl who had recently had a relatively traumatic experience with doctors, she was amazingly cooperative and cheerful. She didn't cry at all, and even smiled for the photo when I asked her to.