published Monday, July 1st, 2013

Humerus reunion: Doc returns Vietnamese vet’s arm

HANOI, Vietnam — An American doctor has arrived in Vietnam carrying an unlikely piece of luggage: the bones of an arm he amputated in 1966.

Sam Axelrad is traveling Monday to meet the amputee, Nguyen Quang Hung, a former North Vietnamese army soldier who was shot by American troops.

“It’s just time for closure,” the Texas man said Sunday in the capital, Hanoi.

The 74-year-old was 27 when he amputated Hung’s infected arm. Axelrad says his colleagues removed the flesh, reconstructed the bones and gave them to him, and that he brought the skeletal keepsake home as a reminder of doing a good deed.

He learned Hung was still alive after a Vietnamese journalist wrote an article last year describing Axelrad’s search for him, prompting the man’s brother-in-law to come forward.

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