Limb loss and amputation injuries are among the most catastrophic a person can experience. They are permanent and life-altering, and affect a person in nearly every way. One reason these injuries are considered so severe is because of the risk of ongoing complications and side effects. An amputation injury can affect all parts of the body, and cause (or exacerbate) other physical problems. If you or a loved one sustained a traumatic limb loss injury, keep reading to find out how our attorneys can help.
What is a traumatic amputation?
A traumatic amputation injury and a surgical amputation are different. Per Johns Hopkins Medicine, “Amputation can be traumatic (due to an accident or injury) or surgical (due to any of multiple causes such as blood vessel disease, cancer, infection, excessive tissue damage, dysfunction, pain, etc.).” For our purposes, we’re discussing traumatic amputations caused by catastrophic accidents or medical malpractice.
As we mentioned earlier, amputation injuries are very obviously permanent and life-changing injuries. Even with a prosthetic, a patient must deal with follow-up care for the rest of their life. The medical expenses alone for this can be staggering – up to half a million dollars – not to mention the mental and emotional toll.
These numbers don’t take into account the complications of a traumatic amputation. Nearly every injury has the risk of complications, and a catastrophic injury like this one is no exception. The more severe the injury, the more severe the complications.
Common complications from an amputation injury
There are a variety of potential complications that can come along with a traumatic amputation injury, including bleeding, blood clots, infections, and phantom pain. However, study after study shows that even more serious complications can occur, some of them life-threatening and many of them requiring surgical intervention.
A 2017 study analyzed trauma-related lower limb amputations in the United States. Researchers found “a high rate of complications and revision amputations among trauma-related lower limb amputees.”
An earlier study researched the link between traumatic amputations and cardiovascular issues. Researchers found an increase in cardiovascular morbidity and mortality among traumatic lower limb amputees. They noted in their conclusion that “coronary risk in lower limb amputees may be substantially greater than predicted by available algorithms.”
And, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) discusses the secondary complications of traumatic amputations, noting that “amputation of one or more limbs has a longitudinal impact on many areas outside of the residual limb itself.” The VHA states that the two most common systems affected by traumatic amputation are the cardiovascular and musculoskeletal. Per the VHA:
Many of the considerations in these areas gradually progress or worsen over time, whereas other conditions may be more intermittent. These conditions highlight the importance of comprehensive prevention strategies including proper nutrition, exercise, tobacco cessation, and wellness counseling for individuals with amputations.
One important takeaway from all of this is that an amputation injury is never over – it’s not an injury you heal from and rarely think about again, like a broken bone or sore neck. Losing a limb is permanent and catastrophic. It can cause constant discomfort and require ongoing medical care. The research proves it and it’s absolutely crucial that, when another person causes that injury, you are compensated both properly and thoroughly.
When determining the compensation to which you are entitled, your South Carolina injury attorney takes many, many factors into consideration, and most of them are specific to your personal situation. These variables include:
- The type of amputation injury – Did you lose a toe or a finger? A leg or arm? More than one part of your body? The more severe your injury, the higher the compensation.
- How your injury affects your life – Your injury may prevent you from working at your previous job. It may prevent you from ever working again. You’re entitled to lost wages and loss of future earning capacity.
- Your required medical treatment – What are your projected medical expenses? Amputation injuries are a lifetime injury, and you must take both the future and any complications or revision surgeries into account.
- Pain and suffering – These are the intangible, or non-financial, effects of your injury. It includes your loss of enjoyment of life, your physical pain, and emotional or mental anguish from your amputation injury.
An experienced lawyer works with medical and financial experts to understand the full scope of your injuries, and then demonstrates to insurance companies or a jury why liable parties owe you compensation.
If you or a loved one suffered a traumatic amputation injury because of someone else’s negligence, talk to the attorneys at McGowan, Hood, Felder & Phillips, LLC first. We know how to handle these complex injury cases, and work to secure the compensation you need for the rest of your life. Schedule a free consultation with a member of our team today by calling our offices or filling out our contact form.
Randy is the former President of the South Carolina Association for Justice. He has been certified by the American Board of Professional Liability as a specialist in Medical Malpractice Law which is recognized by the South Carolina Bar. Randy has also been awarded the distinction of being a “Super Lawyer” 10 times in the last decade. He has over 25 years of experience helping injured people fight back against corporations, hospitals and wrong-doers.
Read more about S. Randall Hood