Amputation Injury Lawyer
Amputation injury is a devastating experience for any person as it involves losing a body part temporarily or permanently. Amputations can be partial in which some soft tissue remains and may be reattached, or complete where the body part is completely severed. It can be a cut through where the body part is separated, a crush where there is tissue damage beyond the wounded area or the tissue damage may be too stretched/torn and repair may not be an option.
Symptoms of amputation injury
Amputation injury can be identified in several ways. The first is that the body part is completely or partially cut off. The second is that there is bleeding (usually quite severe), the third is that there is a pain (the severity may not be related to the injury), and there may be crushed or torn body tissue.
Causes of amputation injury
There are many reasons why one would suffer an amputation injury.
- The first is direct trauma (motor vehicle accidents, slip and fall, work-related accidents, etc) that takes the limb off fully or partially.
- The second is a vascular disease that requires the body part to be removed.
- The third is cancerous tumors in the limbs that suggest amputation.
- Fourth, indirect trauma such as severe that destroys blood vessels which in turn produces tissue death that requires the removal of body parts to avoid infection.
- The fifth reason is congenital, i.e. the baby is born without a limb, mostly the upper limb. Finally, there are malpractice cases where a limb is removed in error.
Injuries will be treated in a hospital, however, proper first aid treatment may be critical. First and foremost, check for breathing and blood circulation and apply CPR if necessary. Second, perform bleeding control to the wound by applying pressure and elevating the injured area. Third, try to calm the injured as much as you can (remember, amputation is a very traumatic experience so the injured may be very difficult to handle). Next important thing to do is to save the severed part: rinse the dirt off the part with clean water, wrap it in clean and damp cloth, put it in a sealed plastic bag and put the bag in cold water (do not put the part directly in water or on ice). Prevent shock by laying the person flat, raise the feet and cover the injured with a blanket. Once bleeding is stopped, examine for other injuries and stay with the person until help arrives. Note: the most important thing is to save the person, the amputated body part is secondary!
Injuries and complications
Although amputation is an injury, there are additional complications after it has been treated: phantom limb effect (pain, burning and itching where the body part used to be), contracture (shortening of muscles due to prolonged sitting or lying in bed), dead skin (skin may die on the flap area due to lack of circulation), wound opening (the result of infection, excess swelling or pressure on the sutures), failure to heal (due to poor circulation, poor nutrition or poor general health, e.g. diabetes), infection (that may result in fever, drainage, and foul wound odor), depression (very common and must be treated immediately after the surgery), weight gain (due to lack of exercise, depression or eating for comfort), and prosthetic complications (redness, bruising, blistering or skin break down).
Amputation injuries come with long-term rehabilitation. Losing an upper limb requires an artificial arm and conditioning exercises, exercises to strengthen existing muscles, and re-learning day-to-day activities with or without the prosthesis. A lower-limb amputee is fitted with an artificial leg and various exercises: stretching along the hip and knee, strengthening existing arm and leg muscles, standing and balancing exercising, endurance exercises, exercises to avoid muscle shortening, and the amputee must learn how to walk up and down and on different road conditions.
As sad as it is, there are about 1.8 million people in the US living with amputations, roughly about 130,000 amputations are performed each year. Most amputees are males and the peak age group is 40-70. Vascular diseases cause 80% or so of the amputations, trauma is contributing to about 15-20% and the rest is due to tumors and congenital problems.
Machines of everyday use can be misused to cause the tragedy of amputation. Fingers and limbs are at risk with conveyor belts, drill presses, food slicers, meat grinders, mechanical power presses, metal forming machines, milling machines, and just about any home improvement tool that has a moving part that is exposed. Children can be victims of slamming doors, appliances like washing machines and dishwashers, and kitchen tools such as pepper shredders. Construction sites can be quite hazardous with sharp and protruding metals, unsecured heavy machines, unfenced elevated heights, and unsecured scaffold structures.
What shall I do?
Amputation injuries are caused by hazardous conditions as well as by health-related issues. Hazardous conditions, as outlined above, must be avoided by following safety procedures. Of all the health-related issues diabetes is what requires special attention because it has a high risk of foot complications that may result in amputation. To minimize the risk of amputation, it is recommended to wash and inspect feet and toes daily, lose weight, quit smoking, exercise regularly, wear proper shoes and see your podiatric doctor regularly.
What mistakes shall I avoid?
Follow the dos and don’ts as outlined for motor vehicle accidents, slips and falls, pedestrian accidents, broken bones, etc. For diabetic individuals, the suggestions are: do not go barefoot, do not wear high heels or other pointed shoes, do not drink in excess, do not wear clothes that are too tight around the legs, and do not try to remove calluses, corns or warts yourself.
How to prevent amputation?
To prevent amputations, follow safety procedures in work areas as well as traffic and vehicle safety rules. Special attention should be paid to children and your household items such as a lawnmower. Children under a certain age (6 recommended) should be kept indoors during mowing, they should not operate the mower until they show strength, coordination, and maturity, they should not be allowed to ride as passengers on mowers or play around the mower when it is used. Mower safety standards should continue to improve especially in cases where the injury is caused due to instability.
Some legal advice
An amputation injury may trigger several legal actions: a personal injury lawsuit as a result of negligence, product liability if the amputation was caused by faulty or unsafe products, premises liability in case the injury occurred on-premises, such as construction sites, with lack of safety standards, and/or malpractice if the amputation was caused by negligence of professionals such as surgeons. An amputation is a life-altering event so it is strongly recommended to consult with an consult with Little Rock amputation injury lawyer to handle the case professionally.