TAMPA — Starting Monday, Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor will have a brand new prosthetic finger to replace the portion of her right index finger lost in a boating incident in June.
“It's mostly cosmetic,” Castor said Friday of the fake finger tip. “But functionality, it allows me to type and ... point out the obvious.”
She will not be using the finger to fire her gun; she's already qualified to use her middle finger for that.
“I'll still shoot with the middle finger, and that's mostly because of the muscle memory,” she said. Using her index finger to shoot a gun “would be painful.”
Castor was lowering her boat in the water in June when the chain on the boat lift jammed. She reached out to the mechanism's flywheel to get it moving again when someone called and distracted her.
The machine started up again and her index finger was severed near the first knuckle, right below the fingernail. The tip fell into the water and was lost.
The new finger will be made of silicone, with an acrylic fingernail. The person who made it, an anaplastologist at Westcoast Brace & Limb, studied art in school, Castor said, and made it by casting a mold of her left finger. The new fingertip will be painted to look just like her other finger.
“It's really a fascinating process,” she said. “For the most part, it is an exact replica of the tip of my left finger.”
The prosthetic will be held on with suction, and will be removed and washed at night, Castor said. It's supposed to last about a year, after which it will be replaced.
Castor said the cost, which she did not know, is being covered by insurance.