Surgeons sew teen's burned hand onto his belly

A 17-year-old Seattle teen is recovering from broken bones, a collapsed lung and second- and third-degree burns from a horrific crash in October. 

And earlier this week, a surgeon from the Harborview Burn Center performed an operation to temporarily tuck and sew Andy Sommer's burned right hand into an opening in his belly.

The director of the burn center, Dr. Nicole Gibran, explained the procedure.

"By tucking his fingers into that pocket, we are able to get some growth of healthy tissue," Gibran said.

Graphic photos: Burned teen's hand sewn into his belly

Sommer says he owes his life to the off-duty firefighter who rescued him.

Recalling the crash, he says he regained consciousness a few seconds after a semi-truck rear-ended his Jeep. The impact pushed Sommer's Jeep into oncoming traffic, where it collided with another car and caught fire.

"I'm trying to get out. I'm trying to get out, and all of a sudden, whoosh. It just catches on fire. I'm like, 'Ooooh,'" Sommer recalled.
Off-duty firefighter Travis Crear saw the crash, stopped and pulled Sommer from the burning vehicle. 

"He rips me out, takes my sweatshirt off, that's on fire. Just amazing," Sommer said.

Despite the long and expensive road to recovery, both Sommer and his family were very grateful on Thanksgiving. 

"I'm thankful that my son is here right now. That's the bottom line. I am very thankful for that," Rob Sommer said.

Sommer faces additional surgeries before he is released, but if all goes well, he could be home for Christmas. The family has set up a Facebook page  to keep supporters updated on Andy's condition and to raise funds to offset the financial cost of his recovery.

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