News: Man regrows finger after horse bite

Or, “why you should be careful with carrots.”

[top photo from Flickr]

This week in the “wow, glad that wasn’t me” news category: Paul Halpern, a New Jersey-based horseman, had his fingertip bitten off by a problem horse…and with the help of doctors in Florida, was able to regrow it without surgery.

After the accident, a buddy of his fished the fingertip out of the horse’s mouth and rushed Halpern to the E.R., where he was told it could not be reattached. However, there was a procedure Halpern could try: the implantation of a xenograph.

It works like this: a special kind of tissue called an extracellular matrix is extracted from a pig’s bladder, and applied to the area to be regrown. This kind of tissue encourages the stem cells in your body to regenerate, and acts as a sort of scaffolding to make sure the finger grows back in the right shape. After two months of this treatment at home, Halpern was even able to regrow his fingernail.

“I consider myself very lucky, ” Halpern told NBC Miami.

News sources are reporting that Halpern is a jockey, but I’m calling non-equestrian error on this one.  I saw this photo of him in the New York Daily News:


If he’s a jockey, that’s the fanciest steeplechase I’ve ever seen.

I couldn’t find any mention of Halpern’s name in the Jockey Guild or in race results…but I did find him (or someone with his same name) listed as one of the Grand Prix jumpers at Wood Pond Manor in Oldfields, NJ.

Plus: a New Jerseyan who “who spends part of the year in South Florida” (as mentioned in the NBC Miami article)? That screams showjumper, not jockey.

Go Riding. (But don’t lose a finger!)

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