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Limb Loss Awareness Month

View profile for Stuart Andrews
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April is Limb Loss Awareness Month.  This is an event run by various charities to raise awareness about living with limb loss and supporting amputees in a community setting by ensuring that they have the access to the correct support system.  Another aim of this event is to address the psychological effects of limb loss which can often lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Amputation injuries are complex, and they require a multi-disciplinary approach in terms of treatment, rehabilitation and anticipation of future needs.

Physical Element

The physical implications of losing any limb are extensive and not limited to the loss of function.  The level of amputation is an important factor in dictating the future outcomes when it comes to the successful use of prosthetics.  The scar following an amputation and the skin surrounding it will require careful management as the site is vulnerable to many long-term conditions including contact dermatitis, skin irritation, reactive hyperaemia, callus formation, folliculitis, skin irritation, cysts and more.

Amputees can experience severe pain if, during the amputation surgery, the muscle groups in the limb affected are not stabilised properly.  This can happen if a surgeon applies excessive or unbalanced tension while trying to stabilise the muscles.  Surgical errors can also occur during the sectioning of the nerves, especially if the surgery involves the brachial plexus, where nerves can accidentally be included in the ligatures with the axillary vessels.

Even following rehabilitation, amputees can often experience ‘phantom pains’ which is a sensation of pain coming from the amputated limb, that is no longer there.  Most recent studies find that this is not rooted in psychology but rather, those are real sensations originating in the spinal cord and the brain.

Psychological Element

The most common mental health conditions that amputees suffer with are Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Depression as well as a variety of adjustment disorders.  It is essential that rehabilitation addresses those issues at an early stage as this will also aid in the physical recovery.

Life following an amputation

In amputation cases, the basic principle of compensation, being the goal to ‘put the person, in so far as possible, the position that they would have been if the accident/negligence did not happen’ cannot be easily attained.  The injury is permanent and life changing.  However, this principle would also dictate that the aim of the compensation should be to ensure rehabilitation and provision of the maximum amount of independence to the amputee. Examples of potential claims would include:

  • Prosthetics, both functional and cosmetic with consideration of replacement needs;
  • Physical and mental health rehabilitation, using a multi-disciplinary approach;
  • Vocational rehabilitation with an assessment of suitable adaptations in the workplace;
  • Care provision to cover the cost of professional care for the activities that the amputee can no longer do, or would struggle to do;
  • Technology/aids & equipment which provide the amputee with the maximum amount of independence.  This covers a broad spectrum of items but some examples include smartwatches, voice recognition technology, accessible vehicles and specialist cutlery;
  • Recommendations for adaptation of the amputee’s property or the purchase of a new property to lessen the impact of their disabilities on everyday tasks;
  • Rehabilitation equipment.

Our specialist serious injury lawyers understand the tragic effect that a loss of limb injury can have on the Claimant and have the expertise and the resolve to ensure that sufficient provision is made to allow the Claimant the best chance at recovery and then independence and good quality of life in the future.

If you or someone you care about has sustained a loss of limb injury as a result of an accident or clinical negligence, please feel free to contact one of our specialist lawyers for a free no-obligation discussion on 0121 355 0011.