Who Was That Masked Man? The Case Of The Disappearing Doctor

HARWINTON, CT – And now the rest of the story, otherwise known as the case of the disappearing doctor.

As recounted earlier, a mishap with a log splitter resulted in a sizable portion of my left thumb being sheared off. When the accident happened that Saturday in mid-February, a friend quickly transported me to Charlotte Hungerford Hospital in Torrington where a doctor in the emergency room stanched the bleeding and eventually tracked down hand surgeon at Yale New Haven Hospital, who saved what was left of the thumb.

The E.R. physician was Dr. Michael Grant and he doggedly expanded his search for a surgeon after first checking other Hartford Healthcare hospitals where the prevailing option seemed to be amputation. He then located Dr. Angie Paik, who believed it could be reconstructed and who spent five hours the next day fashioning a fresh digit using a skin graft taken from the adjacent index finger.

Bud Wilkinson and Dr. Angie Paik if Yale New Haven Hospital

Dr. Paik did a masterful job. The thumb is still healing but I already have full use of my hand. I’ve thanked her several times for her skill and patience. The person I haven’t been able to thank is Dr. Grant. I have no idea how to locate him.

Sounds odd, right?

I was in shock when I arrived at the E.R. so I never really caught his name. I learned it later when reading his post-assessment notes on MyChart online. What’s bothersome is that he’s remained something of a mystery man.

Dr. Grant is listed on Charlotte Hungerford’s website and elsewhere. He’s a 2017 honors graduate of the University of Vermont and his speciality is emergency medicine. However, a trip to the E.R. a few weeks ago to see if perhaps he was on duty resulted in a puzzling response: No one knew of him.

Being persistent, I called the public relations person at Hartford Healthcare in Hartford and left a message, but never heard back from her. I subsequently managed to talk with a PR person at Charlotte Hungerford. I told him of my desire to say thanks and that I was seeking info from the doctor for the original column on the accident that appeared in the “Republican-American” newspaper and on this website (linked above). He said he’d check on Dr. Grant’s whereabouts, but I never heard back from him, either.

A Google search revealed that Dr. Grant’s also associated with Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, MA. A call placed there only added to the mystery. That hospital’s switchboard had no record of his existence.

So who is this Dr. Grant? A nurse friend suggests that maybe he’s a “traveling doctor,” an itinerant freelancer of sort who plugs staffing gaps when needed. Whatever the case, I’d still like to chat with him to say thanks for making the extra effort that enabled me to get a new thumb.

Of course, maybe he doesn’t exist. Maybe he was just a hallucination brought on by shock from the accident.

About Bud Wilkinson

Bud Wilkinson writes the "RIDE-CT" motorcycle column and the "My Ride" classic car feature in the "Republican-American" newspaper in Waterbury, CT. A graduate of Vermont Academy, he received a B.A. degree journalism from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1975. He is the recipient of a Scripps Howard Foundation National Journalism Award in 1992 and a 1991-92 regional Emmy Award for commentary. He currently rides a 1987 BMW R 80 RT and a 2014 Triumph Bonneville and drives a 2010 Mazda MX-5 Miata.