Medical science has advanced exponentially over the past several decades, and injured victims have a plethora of treatment options for most injuries. However, in some cases, an injury is so severe that the affected area cannot be saved, and must be sacrificed to preserve the life of the victim. When this happens to an individual’s arm or leg, amputation becomes necessary.
Amputation is the surgical removal of an appendage. This typically only happens when a limb is severed by an injury or damaged beyond recovery. In some cases, amputation is necessary to prevent the spread of infections or disease. Regardless of why an amputation takes place, the victim has a very difficult road ahead in terms of learning to manage without the amputated limb or limbs.
Effects of Amputation
Even if an amputation procedure goes off without a hitch and heals perfectly, the victim often has far more than just physical healing to do. Losing a limb is an emotionally traumatic event, and amputation often entails several psychological conditions such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and phantom limb syndrome.
These are serious psychological issues that often require extensive treatment and can prevent victims from maintaining work and generating income needed to survive. Additionally, these conditions often take an emotional toll on the victim’s loved ones and friends as well. Amputations are serious incidents with far-reaching effects.
PTSD is common in survivors or victims of traumatic experiences. PTSD sufferers typically have trouble adjusting back into normal life after the traumatic event, and environmental stimuli can sometimes cause flashbacks of the incident. People with PTSD often report difficulties eating and sleeping, mood swings, depression, and other atypical behaviors.
Phantom limb syndrome is a psychological disorder that affects amputates. Essentially, the amputee feels pain sensations that seem to come from the missing limb. For example, a veteran may have his or her arm amputated after a combat injury, and after the procedure he or she will feel stinging in his or her fingertips that are no longer there.
Modern robotics and medical science have produced some of the most advanced prosthetics ever seen, and these devices are more accessible and affordable than ever thanks to the cost of production decreasing in recent years. Some amputees now have prosthetic arms capable of a wide range of motion and even fine motor skills controlled with neural interfaces. Prosthetic legs are more durable with modern materials and offer amputees a more natural gait.
Psychological counseling often plays a role in treatment for amputees as well. Regardless of why the amputation was necessary, coping with the loss of a limb is often a very hard process that requires support and guidance.
Due to the immense effect amputation has on victims, it is imperative to hold negligent parties accountable if their actions. If you or a loved one has lost a limb to amputation due to the reckless or thoughtless actions of another person or party, consult with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Additionally, if you believe that a doctor did not provide enough evidence to establish that an amputation was medically necessary, that doctor might be liable for medical malpractice. You should consult with an attorney about this possibility as well.
If your amputation is found to be the fault of another party, your attorney will be able to help you secure compensation for various damages, including:
- Medical expenses – These include emergency care, surgical costs, hospital bills, and the cost of prosthetics.
- Pain and suffering – Your attorney should consult with expert witnesses who will explain to the court how extensive and painful your injuries were and attest to the psychological impact of your amputation. A judge will consider this testimony and award an appropriate amount.
- Lost income – In most injury cases, victims can recover compensation for lost wages from time their injuries forced them to stay home from work. Amputations often prevent victims from ever resuming their jobs, so these victims can collect lost income for the wages they would have reasonably expected to earn in the future.
If you or a loved one has had an amputation and you have questions about possible legal action, talk to the lawyers and Anapol Weiss in Philadelphia about a consultation. We are committed to giving every client the full extent of our abilities and making every effort to maximize their recovery.