An amputation is the loss or removal of a body part or extremity. This serious condition often arises in the aftermath of a traumatic accident or illness. A traumatic amputation happens when a part of your body is severed in an accident, such as a motor vehicle crash or a harrowing event involving dangerous equipment.
A serious injury like an amputation can dramatically change your life. If one of your limbs has been amputated, you may face:
- A long, painful recovery
- Extensive physical therapy
- Staggering medical bills
The goal of a workers’ compensation or personal injury claim is to help the victim and the victim’s family collect money to help manage this devastating situation. It is vital that you have sufficient resources in place to meet your medical and financial needs both today and years down the road.
Behind disease, accidents are the most frequent cause of amputation in the United States, with around 30,000 amputations occurring annually. Research shows that the most common traumatic amputee victims are males ages 15 to 30.
Various accidents can lead to amputation. The site of the accident plays a major role in who may be held liable for short-term and long-term damages in an amputation claim.
Some common causes of amputation injuries include:
- Construction site accidents (such as accidents with power tools)
- Motor vehicle accidents (including cars, trucks, motorcycles, buses, trucks and pedestrian accidents)
- Workplace injuries (such as on farm-related machinery, factory equipment, etc.)
- Dangerous property conditions
- Dangerous and defective products
- Animal attacks
Types of amputations
There are two categories of amputations: partial and complete. A partial amputation is when a part of your affected limb tissue remains attached. In a complete amputation, your entire body part is cut off. In both types of amputations, the affected extremity bay be reattached, depending on several factors. These include:
- Whether or not the limb was amputated at the time of the accident
- The length of time it took to treat the wound
- The condition of the victim
- The condition of the amputated limb
Amputated body parts
The body parts that most commonly become completely or partially severed from your body during trauma include:
- Legs (either below your hip or below the knee)
- Arms (typically from your shoulder or from the elbow)
- From the waist down
Depending on what part of your body was detached, amputation treatment will differ by patient. However, the initial First Aid treatment to your initial wound will generally follow the same procedures, such as:
- Treating the victim for shock or unconsciousness
- Controlling the bleeding
- Saving and preserving the amputated body part(s)
Some procedures for continued and advanced treatment can include:
- Keeping the wound clean and infection-free until it is healed
- An assessment called Mangled Extremity Severity Score (MESS) to determine whether or not limb reattachment is possible
- Surgical reattachment of body parts when possible
- Prosthesis attachment when possible
Accident Amputation Outcome
How quickly and efficiently the amputee victim is able to receive medical care will play a large part in the outcome of that extremity. The prognosis will depend largely on what sort of replacement is available for the lost body part.
In today’s technology age, advances in prosthetics have dramatically improved. However, keep in mind that rehabilitation from traumatic amputation is typically an involved, lengthy process. Using a prosthetic is a difficult and life-long adjustment, but it is often more beneficial than the reattachment of a nonfunctional limb, or no extremity at all.