Duluth frostbite victim has surgery on handsUPDATE: Nineteen-year-old Alyssa Lommel’s mother, Teri, wrote on her daughter’s Caring Bridge site Tuesday night that doctors found more tissue damage than they had anticipated.
By: News Tribune staff, Duluth News Tribune
The 19-year-old University of Minnesota Duluth student found in subzero temperatures in December off Woodland Avenue had surgery Tuesday to remove most of all of her fingers and thumbs.
Alyssa Lommel’s mother, Teri, wrote on her daughter’s Caring Bridge site Tuesday night that doctors found more tissue damage than they had anticipated. Amputations were made just below the knuckles on both of Lommel’s hands.
Two weeks ago, she had surgery to remove the tips of her toes on one foot and a part of the other to the ball of her foot.
“Alyssa hasn’t been told about her hands yet,” Teri Lommel wrote after the Tuesday surgery. While she knew there would be amputations, there was some hope, especially with her thumbs, that enough could be saved for better mobility.
“She was so excited when she could move her left thumb. She felt positive that she would still have that. It’s hard news to give and even harder news to receive.”
Teri Lommel said her daughter’s heels looked better than doctors had expected, and she should be able to put pressure on both once they heal, greatly aiding her ability to walk.
“That will be good news for her since they weren’t sure if that tissue would heal enough for her to be able to support her weight,” Teri wrote.
Lommel, a sophomore, was found on the steps of a neighbor’s home on the morning of Dec. 7. It’s estimated she spent nearly nine hours outside on a night when the temperature dipped to 17 degrees below zero.