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Massena teen’s arm successfully reattached, recovering in Boston

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MASSENA - Less than a month after severing his right arm in an accident at Violi’s Restaurant, Brett M. Bouchard is awake with his limb reattached and recovering in a Boston hospital.

Mr. Bouchard, 17, was cleaning a large pasta-making machine at the 209 Center St. Italian eatery the night of April 24 when he severed his arm at the elbow.

A tourniquet was put on his arm, and he was rushed to Massena Memorial Hospital soon after the incident. He does not have a clear memory of what happened.

“I remember a little bit. I was working with the machine and I just remember being in a lot of pain. I remember bits and pieces of going to (Massena Memorial Hospital) and going to Boston from there,” Mr. Bouchard said. “I want to give thanks to Mike and Joanne Walsh who were customers at Violi’s. They are great people and they were the ones who brought me to the hospital.

“I also want to thank Brad Wilbur. He is the one who I really think saved my life. He put on the tourniquet to stop the blood flow after I took my belt off,” he said.

Since being flown to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, he has had four different surgeries.

Mr. Bouchard’s mother, Rebecca Martin, said that doctors had her son on a ventilator for 10 or 11 days in a coma-like state to keep him from moving his arm following surgery.

“They have reattached the arm, and there is blood flow. They have reconnected two of the nerves in the arm and if he continues to heal well there will be future surgeries,” Ms. Martin said. “There will definitely be a main surgery of a tendon transplant to give him the function of the hand. There will also be a reshaping surgery in the future. Their projection is a one- to two-year process.”

Ms. Martin’s son’s near-death-experience occurred on her birthday.

She described her reaction as “pure and utter shock. I can’t even explain or put into words. I can’t explain it,” she said.

Mr. Bouchard awoke on May 4, and since his accident countless family members, friends and even strangers have stepped up to help with his recovery.

The Brett Bouchard Recovery Fund is a donation page listed on youcaring.com that was set up by his family. As of May 16 the site had 68 supporters and had raised $3,787.

The page can be accessed at http://wdt.me/w33Cw9.

Violi’s Restaurant manager Mia Violi also started an online fundraiser for Mr. Bouchard that can be found at www.gofundme.com/8nz5pc. Its 121 donations have raised $9,420 so far.

Ms. Martin has rarely found herself more than a few feet from her son’s bedside this month. Due to the continuous support, though, she has had to make a few trips to the airport.

“The airport trips have been constant with meeting and picking up people in Boston to visit Brett. Strangers, family and friends have come to the hospital and helped in every way imaginable,” she said. “I want everybody to know how thankful and grateful we are for all of the help. They have gone completely above and beyond.”

Mr. Bouchard said that he does not remember waking up two weeks ago, but after a few days memories of the accident were starting to come back.

Surgeons are giving the teen a bright prognosis, according to his mother. She said despite the projected length of his recovery, it seems that he’ll have plenty of support.

“As I told Brett after he woke up, when it happened it was a terrible tragedy but since then it has been really a blessing. The family, friends and strangers have really lifted Brett up,” Ms. Martin said. “Everyone here at the hospital has been tremendous, and Brett has a very strong will. If any kid can get through this, it’s going to be Brett.”

Mr. Bouchard expressed his thanks to the community.

“I want to thank everyone, and they have given me a great outlook on life,” he said. “It’s amazing.”

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