WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- In 1966, 16-year-old Danny Stanley was in an automobile accident in which his right hand was severed.
Dr. Jesse Meredith, who was then a professor of surgery at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, successfully reattached Stanley’s hand.
The year before, Meredith became the first surgeon in the nation to perform a successful hand reattachment.
Stanley, now 68, and Meredith, now 95, recently had a private reunion at a Winston-Salem restaurant – the first time they had seen each other since the days immediately following the surgery.
The reunion was the result of a coincidence. Stanley was helping his grandson with his home-repair business when a homeowner asked Stanley about the scar on his right hand. Stanley told him the story about his accident and the reattachment surgery.
The homeowner, a Wake Forest Baptist employee, asked Stanley who performed the operation, and learned it was Meredith. The homeowner turned out to be a friend of Meredith’s, and he offered to reconnect the now-retired surgeon and former patient over lunch.
During that meeting, Stanley shared with Meredith a list of his accomplishments over the past five decades – including becoming an airplane mechanic, volunteer fire chief and Boy Scouts scoutmaster – which he credits to the successful hand reattachment.