Thirty five years later, one milestone surgery is still revered among all others at Grand View Hospital. A group of surgeons at a community hospital in Sellersville achieved a feat not even attempted at advanced hospitals in Philadelphia at the time; changing a young man’s fate and essentially giving him back his life.
Jesse Masarjian was a 19 year old “kid” working at a furniture factory in Green Lane, when an accident nearly stole his life.
Bending over to change the angle of a circular saw he was using, the saw suddenly pitched forward and cleanly severed his left arm below the shoulder.
“It happened so fast,” said Masarjian, “I got up and I just realized I saw blood and I held my arm and that was about it.”
Jesse was near death when he reached the hospital by ambulance, having lost 10 pints of blood. It was the quick work of the hospital staff to get him into surgery within an hour of the accident that may have saved not only his limb, but his life.
At the time, Masarjian’s arm was hanging on by only one inch of flesh, and was packed in ice by the emergency room staff to slow the deterioration of the tissue.
In the operating room, a team of surgeons, David C. Rilling, MD; Dennis L. Moyer, MD; and David C. Rising, MD; worked for seven hours to reattach the bone, veins, nerves, arteries, muscles, and skin of Jesse’s arm, in a surgery unheard of not only in a community hospital, but in larger, more advanced city hospitals.
Where other surgeons may have chosen to amputate, Masarjian’s team made a bolder choice; to use their collective surgical experience to attempt to save Jesse’s arm.
As a surgeon in the Vietnam War, Dr. Rilling, had experience repairing muscles; Dr. Rising, had experience repairing bone using implanted plates and reattaching severed nerves.
With the help of the surgeons, staff and physical therapists, Masarjian was able to regain some use of his arm, giving him a chance at a better life.