Doctor Says Surgery At Crash Scenes Is Rare

POSTED: 8:43 am EDT June 12, 2007

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HIALEAH, Fla. -- A Miami teenager remains in critical condition after a surgeon amputated his arm on the Palmetto Expressway when he was pinned underneath a truck.

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On Saturday, 17-year-old Leona Sanchez was riding in a cement truck that struck a guardrail and flipped over.


"He was, for the most part, trapped by his arm," said Dr. David Shatz. "The arm was already pretty well destroyed, but that was the only way to get him out -- to complete the amputation."

Shatz was airlifted to the scene and amputated Sanchez's right arm on the highway.

"In this case, it was on the ground, on my knees. It's certainly more difficult than the operating room," Shatz said.

Officials said flying a surgeon to a crash scene is rare.

"We've had the protocol in place for, I don't know, seven, eight, nine years," Shatz said. "This is only the second time that we've used it."

Since the crash, doctors at Jackson Memorial Hospital have performed three surgeries on Sanchez. The teen remains in critical condition.

The boy's father, Aurelio Sanchez, was driving the truck at the time of the accident. Police said he lost control and slammed into the guardrail.

The father was given several tickets, including not providing a seat belt for a minor. Police also said his driver's license and registration were expired.