Amputations, the separation or loss of a body part from the body by way of surgery or trauma, are one of the most serious and debilitating injuries a person can experience.
Losing a limb impacts every aspect of a person’s life and the financial, physical, and emotional consequences of this type of injury can seem overwhelming.
Types of Amputations:
- Traumatic Amputations – A traumatic amputation occurs when a limb is fully or partially severed from the body and usually occurs outside of the hospital setting, such as in a car accident. There are more than 30,000 traumatic amputations each year. Traumatic amputations can involve any body party, but upper limb amputations are the most common. The upper limbs include the fingers, hand, wrist, forearm, upper arm, shoulder blade, and collarbone.
- Surgical Amputations – A surgical amputation is the removal of a body part by a physician and can occur after an injury is sustained in an accident. The doctor may need to remove a limb or digit because it has been partially severed and cannot be reattached or because that part of the body is too badly damaged. It may also be required if the victim suffers from an infection that is not responding to antibiotics. Surgical amputations are done to save a person’s life but they can also lead to complications, including tissue death, blood clots, hematoma, joint deformity, and wound openings.
In rare cases the partial or fully severed limb or digit can be reattached. However, this can depend on the amount of the damage to the body and severed part as well as the length of time it takes to receive medical care. Even if the limb is properly taken care of and reattached, there may be nerve damage or other long-term issues.
Long-term Treatment and Life-Long Consequences
In most cases, amputee treatment will continue throughout a person’s lifetime. Post-amputation treatment involves rehabilitation, mental health support, prosthetic care, and the possibility of additional surgeries. According to Amputee Coalition, the estimated long-term care costs for amputation are more than $500,000 with the costs of prosthetic devices varying according to level and complexity of amputation. Studies from the Amputee Coalition estimate five-year prosthetic device costs to be as high as $450,000 for an individual with multiple limb amputations, $230,000 for an individual with an unilateral lower-limb amputation, and $117,000 for an individual with an unilateral upper-limb amputation.
No matter what body part an individual lost, they will have to adjust to a new way of life. If they lost a finger, it changes how they eat and type. If they lost an arm, they must relearn how to do everything from showering and getting dressed to cooking and taking care of their kids. If they lost a leg they must relearn how to balance and walk with crutches or a prosthetic. If the individual lost multiple limbs, they may lose a great deal of independence and need to modify their home to make it more manageable for them or hire in-home care.
Individuals might also feel stump pain and phantom limb pain in the part of the body that is no longer there. That pain is real for that person. This pain may go away over time, but physicians can help treat it with medication and therapies. There are also more invasive surgical options.
Emotional Consequences of an Amputation
Losing a limb is literally losing a part of yourself. This can come with significant psychological effects. Many individuals will mourn their limb while adapting to a new way of life. They may experience grief, anger, resentment, denial, and many other emotions following the accident.
The consequences of an amputation weigh heavily on the victim’s family. Many will rely on family members to step up and help them after they return home but are still regaining their strength and undergoing rehabilitation.
If you or a loved one have experienced the loss of a limb because of another party’s negligent or reckless conduct, let us help. Our goal is to secure the compensation you deserve so that you can focus on your physical and emotional recovery. Contact us today.