An amputation is when a body part is removed because of physical trauma or a serious medical condition. An individual may lose fingers, hands, arms, toes, feet and legs because of trauma suffered in a car accident or a workplace accident or even as the result of a medical condition such as diabetes. Regardless of the cause, losing a limb can be physically and emotionally traumatizing and have lifelong effects.
According to statistics gathered by The Amputee Coalition, there are more than two million people living in the United States with limb loss and approximately 185,000 amputations occur annually. The majority of those living with limb loss (54 percent) required an amputation because of a vascular disease such as diabetes or peripheral arterial disease. A large number of amputation victims (45 percent), however, lost a limb because of trauma.
Trauma and Amputations
It is possible to sustain trauma in a traffic accident to the extent that the victim needs to have a body part amputated. Pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists are particularly at risk of amputation injuries because there is nothing to protect them during an accident. Car occupants may suffer amputation injuries as well. Heavy machinery and power tools are commonly involved in work-related amputations. This is why traumatic amputations commonly occur at factories, farms and construction sites. It is important for employers to actively prevent amputation injuries through proper safety training and supervision.
If emergency responders are able to treat the patient and transport the victim to surgery in time, it may be possible to reattach the lost limb. Reattachment is typically only possible when the severed part and the stump are properly cared for immediately after the incident. Not all amputations, however, involve a complete severing. In a partial amputation, some of the soft-tissue connection remains. How much tissue remains intact can affect whether or not the limb can be reattached in surgery.
Symptoms of Amputation Injuries
There are some easily observable symptoms of amputation injuries. Immediately after suffering trauma, the victim will either have a completely or partially amputated limb. This injury will result in minimal or severe bleeding depending on the location and severity of the lacerations. The victim will likely experience severe pain and the traumatized area of the body will likely have crushed body tissue including mangled muscle, bone, skin and tendon.
First Aid and Treatment
If you are with someone who has suffered an amputation injury, call emergency services and try to keep the victim calm. Keep direct pressure on the wound and raise the injured area above the heart. A tight bandage or tourniquet may be needed to keep pressure on the wound. The severed body part will need to be preserved right away. Keep the limb clean and away from anything that may contaminate it. Despite common wisdom, you should not put a severed limb in ice. You should, however, put it in plastic and then put the plastic in cold water. If cold water is not available, keep the body part away from heat. Keeping it cold could preserve it for a day and half. Without cooling, it may only last for a few hours.
Living with an Amputation
Losing a limb can have a significant impact physically, psychologically and emotionally. Individuals may be unable to return to work after suffering an amputation injury. Factory and construction work may be impossible after an amputation injury has occurred. For many, the emotional toll of losing a limb lasts long after the accident.
A significant number of amputees experience phantom limbs. This is when they feel body parts that they no longer have. They can experience aches, burns or even itches where they no longer have a body part. Many also experience posttraumatic stress and depression. It can prove difficult to adjust to life after suffering a catastrophic injury and many victims struggle with emotional stress and anguish.
Getting Help for a New York Amputation
There have been significant advancements over the years with regard to prosthetics. However, this type of new technology is not cheap and even the less expensive models can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Amputees can seek compensation for damages from the negligent parties – be it at-fault drivers, corporate entities or employers – for damages including, but not limited to, medical expenses, lost wages and benefits, hospitalization, surgeries, prosthetics, rehabilitation, permanent injuries, disabilities, past and future pain and suffering, etc.
If you or a loved one has sustained amputation injuries, the experienced New York personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm can help you better understand your legal rights and options. With more than 42 years of experience, we work tirelessly to help obtain the best possible compensation for injured victims or those who have lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence.
Please contact us TOLL FREE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-WORK-4-YOU (1-800-967-5496). WE CAN EVEN COME TO YOU. There is no attorneys’ fee unless we recover money for you. We can also help with personal injury cases in New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Florida. If you have been seriously injured in any of the 50 U.S. states, please call us and we will try to help you with your case.
Other TOLL FREE phone numbers for us are:
1-800-RADIO-LAW, 1-888-WYPADEK, OR 1-800-LAS-LEYES
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