Our law firm understands the devastation and ongoing hardship you are experiencing after undergoing an amputation of a limb. Likely, your injuries have placed your livelihood, career, and your ability to participate in previous activities at stake. Your family is likely facing substantial medical bills with no end in sight.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC represents victims of preventable amputations and other types of professional negligence. Our law firm has successfully prosecuted cases for our clients who were injured by the negligent actions of others. Our attorneys are available to answer any legal questions on how to receive the monetary compensation you deserve if your injuries were a result of someone else's negligence. Should you have additional questions, we invite you to contact our office for a free review of your legal rights.
Amputations can occur by various means including being involved in the severe auto accident, medical malpractice, nursing home abuse, frostbite, and medical conditions. In some incidents, the victim will suffer a life-threatening infection or develop a tumor that results in the need to remove a leg or arm.
Recovery From an Amputation
The length of time it takes to fully recover from a severe traumatic amputation injury can be extensive. While losing a finger or toe might be a horrific experience, many surgeons can reattach the appendage even if it has been severed completely. A loss of a hand, foot, arm, or leg typically results in a permanent disability. Many patients with amputations will develop severe complications that include:
- Uncontrollable bleeding
- Phantom limb pain
- Impact on the remaining limb due to not using a prosthesis
- Weight gain and medical challenges controlling hypertension and diabetes when activities are reduced
Why Does my Surgeon Want to Amputate?
Likely, the amputation is necessary because your survival depends on it. This type of procedure is complicated. However, doctors likely recommending the surgery because you suffer from other conditions that include:
- A Developing Infection – If you have an infected wound and your doctor has prescribed antibiotics but the condition is not getting better, your surgeon may recommend you undergo an amputation of the limb to save your life. The wound may have dead tissue that without an immediate amputation could develop gangrene and claim your life if the condition becomes unstoppable.
- A Severe Injury – Your arm or leg might be beyond your body's capacity to heal the wound completely even if you have access to every available treatment option that medical technology can offer. The leg or arm might be severely burned, or the bones may be crushed completely which will eventually lead to an infection that could claim your life.
- Restricted Blood Flow Circulation – Patients with extremely poor blood flow circulation in the legs and arms are usually suffering from peripheral artery disease (PAD) or diabetes. If this is what is happening in your case, your arteries have narrowed or have become damaged that has led to infection caused by necrosis (dead tissue). These amputation procedures are common and often require the removal of the leg just below or above the knee. The doctor will likely recommend various therapies to improve blood flow circulation after the limb has been amputated to ensure optimal healing.
Common Causes of Amputations
Losing a limb or appendage can occur in different ways including, but not limited to involvement in a:
- Car accident,
- Commercial vehicle collision,
- Motorcycle crash,
- Congenital disability,
- Pedestrian or bicycle accident,
- Lawnmower accident
- Construction site accident,
- Workplace incident involving heavy equipment or unsafe machinery,
- Explosion accident,
- Electrical fire,
- Negligent medical care
- Nursing home abuse, mistreatment, or neglect that results in an infected bedsore that leads to gangrene or other life-threatening condition,
- Premises liability case.
The Serious Concerns of a Below the Knee Amputation
Surgeons will often recommend that the injured victim undergo a below the knee amputation to improve their health and make the remaining leg more useful. Removing unhealthy tissue can improve the victim's quality of life especially if it solves ankle and foot problems that have become unmanageable and life-threatening. This procedure can help extend the patient's life.
Usually, the surgical procedures are recommended when the patient is suffering from a severe injury or has developed a life-threatening infection. Other factors that might determine the need for a below the knee amputation include chronic pain, a growing tumor, congenital disability, or nonhealing skin ulcer. Making the determination to undergo the procedure should only be decided after the patient has had an extensive discussion with their orthopedic surgeon.
There is a comprehensive list why a below the knee amputation might not be the ideal choice for some patients who have:
- Restricted Blood Flow – Individuals who suffer from restricted blood flow should avoid a below the knee amputation without a comprehensive evaluation. Sufficient flow of blood is required to ensure that the wound heals fully. Surgeons often recommend patients with poor blood flow see a vascular specialist who can identify lung disease, heart issues, bleeding problems, or a compromised immune system that might negatively affect their recovery.
- Scar Tissue and Muscle Loss – Excessive scarring, tissue loss, and tissue grafting can cause serious problems for any patient undergoing a below the knee amputation. The surgeon may not be able to adequately close the wound due to inadequate muscle or skin to allow the wound to heal and prepare the area to accept an artificial limb.
- Tumors and Infections – Any developing tumor or severe infection that extends higher than the kneecap could cause a delay in undergoing a below the knee amputation.
- Intense Knee Pain and Restricted Knee Function – If the victim is unable to straighten their leg or experience intense pain at the knee, they may find it challenging to walk using an artificial limb.
- Mobility Challenges – Any injured victim who already is unable to stand or walk for any medication or health reasons may not be the ideal candidate to undergo a below the knee amputation.
Unfortunately, not undergoing an amputation when you need one can cause serious health problems. The victim will likely experience more medical issues due to an infection caused by the accident that led to their injuries.
A Growing Problem
Statistics maintained by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) estimates that there are approximately two million amputees in the United States. This number grows by more than 500 additional cases every day where a victim has lost a limb. The most common factors associated with the loss of a limb include:
- Dealing with Phantom Pains – Doctors define phantom pain as a physical, ongoing sensation in the lost a limb experienced after an amputation. The patient often feels a strong sensation of burning, pain, and itching in the arm or leg that is no longer present.
- Older and Younger Victims – According to Dr. Jessica Wise, a surgical resident at Mountain View Hospital, “amputations caused by traumatic injury occur at varying ages, but usually in the 15 to 35 age range.” The doctor also stated that “Amputations caused by disease tends to occur in older patients, between the ages of 65 and 80.” More patients tend to undergo a leg amputation below or above the knee rather than an arm or hand amputation.
- Congenital Defects – Approximately 150,000 babies in the U.S. are born with a congenital disability every year. Of those, an estimated 4500 children are born with congenital limb deficiencies involving the upper and lower limbs. To date, medical science has yet to determine what causes these deficiencies. Many are likely the result of a genetic factor where the child developed an abnormal gene that was likely not passed down from the child's father or mother. In some cases, the genetic problem occurred spontaneously through a mutation while the fetus was in utero.
Some research to show that exposure to hazardous drugs and chemicals can compromise fetal limb development during the first four to six weeks of pregnancy. Decades ago, doctors prescribed thalidomide to treat nausea during early pregnancy before it was determined that the drug caused severe genetic mutations including shortened upper limbs. Many of the babies were born with severe leg deficiencies too.
Preventing an Amputation
If you suffer a chronic, severe wound, you might be worrying that the surgeon will likely recommend amputation to avoid a further decline in your health. However, there are often effective steps that can prevent the need for an amputation including:
Incorporating an effective wound care regimen to ensure the sore remains free from infection. Often, this necessitates using effective wound care supplies or undergoing debridement surgery to remove necrotic (dead) tissue.
Regularly checking the skin for diabetic ulcers can minimize your potential risk of needing an amputation. Any ulcerated skin problem should be addressed promptly. Quick medical attention can prevent a serious, life-threatening health complication including the development of a severe infection that would require an amputation. People with diabetes should work with their medical professionals to ensure their blood sugar levels remain within range. This effort will prevent neuropathy and ensure your blood flow circulation remains healthy.
Diagnosing a Condition Requiring Surgical Amputation
Your doctor may diagnose a medical condition that requires a surgical amputation if the limb has a limited blood supply or damaged tissue that is repairable. Sufficient blood flow is crucial for the health of tissue and necessary for the body to heal. Determining where to amputate the leg or arm will be based on the patient's medical condition and the suitability of fitting a prosthetic device. Unfortunately, badly damage tissue or restricted blood flow in the limb may require a major partial or complete amputation.
- Complications associated with the need for a surgical amputation include:
- A developing infection
- Open wounds
- Pressure Sores
- Stroke or heart attack
- Chest pain (angina)
- Blood clots in the legs (deep vein thrombosis – DVT)
In the days following the completed amputation, the doctor or prosthetist will likely fit the patient with an artificial limb designed to help the amputee with normal activities. However, every device is constructed differently and meets the physical abilities, requirements, and needs of the individual patient. Typically, the patient will receive a temporary artificial limb while the body is still healing, and the swelling has yet to subside.
Usually, the prosthetist will work closely with the patient and make suggestions on how to restore activity levels. A few months after the surgery, the patient will typically receive a second artificial limb that will serve as a permanent natural extension of their body. These devices typically last up to five years based on wear and tear.
How Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC Can Help
The preventable amputee injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC understand the incident that led to your amputation was not your fault cause the negligence of others. Our legal team has successfully obtained millions on behalf of the victims and their family members to ensure they were adequately compensated to cover their medical expenses, household bills, lost wages, loss of future earnings, pain, suffering, and emotional damage and we can help your family too.
Our law firm encourages you to contact our attorneys today at (888) 424-5757 to schedule a free, no-obligation case consultation to discuss the merits of your monetary recovery claim. We accept all personal injury cases, wrongful death lawsuits, and amputation injury claims through contingency fee arrangements. This legal contract postpones the payment of legal services until after we have successfully completed your case through a negotiated settlement or a jury verdict.
Our law firm gets results quickly because we understand you need money now. We proudly offer every client a “No Win/No-Fee” Guarantee, meaning if we are unable to secure financial compensation on your behalf you owe us nothing. All information you share with our law office will stay confidential. You deserve someone to fight aggressively on your behalf. Let us do that for you. Do not wait, call us today!
Resources for amputees and civil damages:
For additional information see the following pages:
- What are the Facts About Amputation Accidents?
- What can I do if I Suffer an Injury Requiring an Amputation?
- What Illinois Laws Govern Amputation Cases?
- Who can I Pursue a Claim Against if I Suffer an Injury Requiring an Amputation?
- Do I Need to File a Lawsuit for My Amputation Within a Certain Time Period Under Illinois Law?
- What Type of Financial Recovery can I Pursue for my Amputation Case?
- What Have Other Plaintiffs in Amputation Cases Recovered?