Loss of a Body Part
Traumatic amputation or loss of a body part is usually the result of an accident or some injury. Most often, the body parts that are amputated are:
Causes of Amputation Injuries
The most common causes of traumatic amputations are:
- Accidents with farm machinery
- Factory accidents
- Power tool accidents
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Natural disasters
- Terrorist attacks
If the body part is only partially amputated, if it is well preserved after the injury, and if the stump from which it came has been carefully tended to, it may be possible to reattach the part.
Partial amputation usually means that some soft-tissue remnant remains after the part has been lost. If the injury is severe or the amputation is complete and the body part improperly cared for, reattachment is unlikely. On the other hand, if the part and the site from which it came are properly cared for, reattachment is possible, depending upon the severity of the injury.
Advances in medicine have enabled successful reattachment to occur more frequently. Reconnecting nerves going to and from the part, however, still remains a problem. The following have led to more successful reattachments recently:
- Improved understanding of how to manage amputation
- Early critical care improvements
- New techniques in surgery
- Rehabilitation soon after reattachment
- New designs for prostheses
According to Medline Plus, an online publication of the National Library of Medicine of the National Institutes of Health, it is usually better to fit the patient with a proper prosthesis than to reattach a nonfunctional limb.
What to Do If You Suffer an Amputation Injury
If a body part is amputated, it is essential to contact a medical professional as soon as possible. Handling an amputation involves treating:
- Reattaching the amputated part if possible
Dealing properly with these emergency situations significantly affects the outcome. To treat bleeding, the most important first step following injury is to apply direct pressure. Raising the injured area also is important. This will often stop the bleeding.
Next it is important to be aware of, prevent and deal with shock. Symptoms of shock include:
- Cold damp skin
- Dizziness or being light-headed
- Low blood pressure
- Pale skin
- Rapid heart rate
- Shortness of breath
Treating infection in the patient who has suffered loss of a limb involves removing infected tissue, giving antibiotics and keeping the open wound area clean.
When amputation is the result of an accident at work or in a car, the employer or other driver may be held responsible. Consequences of losing a limb may be devastating. A lawyer experienced in helping victims of accidental amputations can help you recover some of the financial results of such a loss as well as pay for the pain and suffering that accompany the loss.