Jane was 26 years old when her right hand was severed during an attack with a bush knife. A deep laceration on her left arm forced her fingers on her left hand into a clawed position and unable to be extended.

Without the use of her remaining hand, Jane lost her ability to care for herself and her son. Her son was three years old at the time and her husband had left them years earlier.

Before the attack, Jane was solely supporting her son and on track to become a mechanic. Not only that, as the eldest child, it was important for Jane to also help her parents and her siblings. After the trauma, the tables turned and she relied heavily on her ageing parents and younger siblings to help her and her son survive.

She desperately wanted to regain her independence.

Jane travelled for six hours to reach Modilon General Hospital in Madang, Papua New Guinea for hand surgery. Interplast volunteers Dr Peter Maloney and Kay Suter worked alongside the local surgical team to release Jane’s fingers on her remaining hand. Jane also undertook intensive physiotherapy by Interplast volunteer and hand therapy specialist, Penny McMahon. Penny taught Jane how to regain the use of her left fingers and thumb, and how to use her right elbow flexion (the bend in the elbow) to hold small items.

A year later Jane has worked hard to build upon the physiotherapy she received with Penny, and has since taught herself how to write, use a knife, brush her teeth and comb her hair with her left hand. Jane can also carry a bucket with the stump of her right arm.

Penny told us Jane travelled to Modilon General Hospital for this year’s follow up clinic in a small bus that was hampered on their way by a mudslide. “All the passengers had to get out and pull the bus through with chains and ropes,” she said. Including Jane. “Jane was determined not to miss the Interplast team, because she wanted to show us what she could do.”

Interplast has delivered hand surgery and hand therapy training in Madang on an annual basis for nine years. With further funding, Interplast can continue to deliver this life-changing program. Donate today and you can help more people like Jane to regain their independence.


Trish is a plastic surgery blogger. She is passionate about wellbeing, health and beauty, and doesn't mind a little bit of 'help' from the amazing cosmetic and beauty procedures that are available today. Trish spends her days talking to women and men who are looking for suggestions and advice on procedures that are available to them. Cutting through the sales pitch and hype, a down-to-earth response on general information is what you will get.

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