1-year-old Queens boy born without thumb gets one made from index finger

Lauren Glassberg Image
Friday, May 29, 2015
Infant born without thumb gets one from index finger
Lauren Glassberg has the story of a 1-year-old boy who was born without a thumb, but was able to have one made from his index finger.

QUEENS (WABC) -- For one little boy from Queens, giving a thumbs up is quite the feat. After he was born without a thumb, he recently had surgery to get one that didn't exist months ago.

Brandon Torres is now a year old and smiley, and you probably wouldn't notice that he only has

four fingers on his right hand.

His left thumb is small and poorly formed, the result of Duane-radial ray syndrome, a condition so rare that there are only about 30 known cases.

And Brandon's case wasn't discovered until he was born.

"He was born premature one month," dad Anderson Torres said. "And that's when they told us, on the table when they were checking and counting his fingers, that he was missing his right thumb."

And life without a thumb can be challenging.

"You can only pick up items this wide, if you're using these fingers," he said. "But the thumb allows you to really capture, pick up and define motor unlike any other finger, and therefore is the most important finger of the whole hand."

And that's why Dr. Bastidas wanted Brandon to have a thumb. So a month ago, at Cohen Children's Medical Center in New Hyde Park, he removed most of Brandon's index finger and relocated it -- along with the muscles, tendons, nerves, arteries and veins -- to the thumb position.

"We knew this was going to be a great thing for him," mom Yuli Ramirez Torres said. "Especially because he's a boy. You know how boys are all active and they want to play sports, and hopefully, he'll get to do all these things now that he has a new thumb."

Brandon already has some use of his new thumb, and after some physical therapy, he'll be able to thumb wrestle big brother Sebastian.

"He has his thumb now, so he will be giving people thumbs up, and we just want to raise awareness for anyone else that's out there that their kids may have this issue, and maybe give them a better future," Anderson Torres said. "He's great, he's crawling, running around, grasping things, eating his Cheerios, his brother's Cheerios, my Cheerios."

Brandon's parents tried tying back their thumbs to see what life would be like for their child, and they knew they had to try the surgery. It was not covered by their health insurance, so they are hoping to raise funds to cover the $20,000 in medical costs. Here's how: Gofundme.com/BrandonsThumbsUp