JASPER COUNTY, S.C. (WTOC) - A Ridgeland, South Carolina coach was severely injured in a car accident in March.
In fact, every doctor except one said they were going to have to amputate his hand. That one plastic surgeon in Savannah happened to be on hand that day at Memorial Health and together they are on the long, painful road to recovery.
“I coach JV softball at Thomas Heyward, got off a little early, went toward Patrick Heny Field,” said Ronnie Reynolds.
But after Coach Ronnie Reynolds turned on that Jasper County road in March, he was hit by a car that ran a stop sign.
“He kind of blindsided me there, he hit the front of my truck, rolled over twice, don’t remember a whole lot about that, but when I came to I looked down and my hand was on the knee, and I could see everything the bone, the skin had come off of it.”
Ronnie was airlifted to Memorial Health, and there he got more devastating news.
“When I came to the hospital, they looked at me and three of the four wanted me to amputate it.”
The one doctor who thought could try and save his hand was Doctor Patrick Buchanan.
“So I got to Memorial’s Emergency department, and seeing his hand it was probably one of the most gruesome injuries I’ve ever seen in my career,” said Dr. Patrick Buchanan, Plastic Hand and Micro Surgeon.
“I told them that if we opted for reconstruction it was going to be a very long road,” said Reynolds.
“So if we go through the process of reconstruction, and then needed an amputation, at least we tried. So at the end of my day I could say sir, I gave you my best,” said Dr. Buchanan.
Dr. Buchanan would have to reconstruct every tendon to help the fingers move, borrow tendons from other parts of the body, and reconstruct with plates and screws.
“Then I was left with a huge skin defect, that I was looking at bone, tendon and metal,” said Reynolds.
“If I was to leave that open, it would get infected, so I had to suture his hand to his wrist to his groin for 3 weeks,” said Dr. Buchanan. “He said Dr. Buchanan are you serious, I said, I’m here for you. He said ‘You’re my man, lets do it.’”
And after four surgeries, Coach Reynolds will still need more but the hand is healing.
“Hopefully, not hopefully, we do have feelings in all the fingers. and I can move all the fingers now,” said Reynolds.
“He’s been able to move his hand, and with more aggressive therapy he should be able to go back to coaching and umpiring. raising his kids up and living a normal life,” said Dr. Buchanan.
“It’s fantastic I got the right doctor at the right time. many prayers went up for that. I got the right doctor at the right time and said he was going to salvage the hand,” said Reynolds.
“But to know where his hand is now, where he has a functional hand, knowing that he can lift his grand kids with a functional hand, there is nothing greater in the world than that, that’s why I come to work everyday,” said Dr. Buchanan.
The doctor says life is going to throw you curve balls, you either swing and miss or get a hit, and in this case, they think they’ve hit a home run. Dr. Buchanan says something else that has really helped in the recovery is Ronnie is a coach and former military and is used to taking instruction, and says he has followed Doctor’s orders to the letter.