The Obstacles of Limb Amputation

We at John M. O’Brien & Associates have helped many people who've suffered catastrophic injuries. Our clients have had to bravely face unique challenges as they recover from injuries that were due to no fault of their own. There are times when the most difficult challenge an injured victim encounters is coming to terms with the type of treatment required after their injury; an example would be a leg or arm amputation.

Amputation Statistics

limb amputation

In the US, 3-4% of amputations are related to trauma. More than 85% of this statistic is male and were found to be younger than 40 years of age. The use of motor vehicles accounts for about 75% of these amputations. These included occupants of automobiles, bicyclist, pedestrians, and motorcycle riders. After a catastrophic accident, an injured victim usually does not just present with an isolated leg injury but often can suffer head and neck injuries, thoracic injuries, and abdominal injuries.

Behind the Decision of Amputating a Limb

A surgeon is not eager to simply amputate an injured victim’s leg. The decision is not taken lightly because they understand that such a medical procedure is life altering.

One of the challenges a surgeon faces when his patient presents with a mangled limb is whether to save or amputate the limb. Medical exams and tests have been created to discover exactly at which point a limb cannot be saved and when amputation is the only available option. Also, an important factor that doctors must consider is, if the limb can be salvaged, can it be returned to its pre-injury level of functioning. Medical professionals will endeavor to understand the patient’s lifestyle and activities before the injury happened. Multiple series of questions are asked, and answers are recorded that describe the patient’s vocation and recreational interests. These detailed exams are necessary in order to help medical professionals know whether the individual needs to stand, climb, walk, or perhaps go over complex terrain.

Next, physicians will try to determine the relative importance of preserving the various functional tasks and the psychological aspects of preserving the cosmetic and body image aspects of losing the leg. Third, they need to discover if the limb can be salvaged from a technical aspect. Consulting with an orthopedic surgeon, a vascular surgeon, and possibly a plastic surgeon will help in coming to the correct conclusion.

A physiatrist, a medical doctor or doctor of osteopathic medicine who specializes in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, plays a big role in amputation rehabilitation. They consider the patient’s vocation, recreational interests, psychological state, support system available to them, and the existence of other medical disorders. A complete physical examination is taken to make sure the individual will be able to function at the relative amputation levels.

Additional Obstacles After an Amputation

The loss of a limb can have a wide variety of psychological reactions. Those affected in the aftermath of a limb amputation include not only the injured victim but their family as well.

Most patients are unfamiliar with the outcomes after amputations and have many questions. There are often concerns about mobility, sexuality, and the ability to function as a spouse or parent. They may worry about being a burden on their family after an amputation. Some psychological reactions may include depression, despair, and anxiety. Other potential obstacles can include the economic impact, financial status, as well as disability costs over a lifetime.

Recovery after amputation

Although some amputees begin to thrive very quickly, others, for a variety of reasons, go through the recovery process more slowly. Physicians usually strive to provide information that will aid their patients in recovering after an amputation. In addition, support groups, informative reading material, and more can be found online.

Contact our Sacramento Office if You Are in Need of Legal Help

At the Sacramento & Elk Grove-based John M' O'Brien law firm, we help individuals and their families throughout California who are dealing with the devastating impact an amputation or limb loss brings. We are a results-oriented law firm, committed to justice for each and every client we represent. We care about our clients and are always prompt in returning your phone calls and emails. We keep you in the loop at every stage of the process.