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Motor vehicle accidents: life after amputation

Wed 25 Jul, 2018 / by / General

They were distracted, driving too fast, under the influence, driving recklessly… regardless of the cause of the accident, you didn’t walk away the same person. Serious injuries come with the expense of lost wages, medical bills and trauma.

While medical bills and lost wages are undoubtedly traumatic, victims who lose a limb in an accident face a battle few will ever have to understand.

Amputations

In the category of traumatic amputations, defined as those caused by injury, 42.9% are due to motor vehicle accidents. Amputation is necessary by physicians when a severed body part cannot be reattached or when the limb poses a threat to the health of the person.

Although amputations have been occurring since the beginning of time and technology has improved greatly, it remains one of the most traumatizing experiences a person can undergo. Not only is it physically painful, the emotional trauma can haunt a person for the rest of their life.

Physical effects

Immediately after the amputation, patients face the risk of bleeding, shock and infection. For most patients, this is a frightening stage, but one they move past with proper care. Proper care involves diligent wound care in the three to four weeks that it takes for scar tissue to form. Building upon the wound care, amputees face a wide range of treatments that promote healing and the ability for a prosthetic down the road. These treatments include:

  • Compression therapy
  • Bandaging
  • Physical therapy

Phycological effects

It is quite normal to grieve the loss of a limb. Having grown so accustomed to your body’s natural weight and balance, it can be nearly impossible to take your mind off the change. Even if you are, the nerve and bone pain is there to remind you.

If only this focus on your new weight and balance could keep your mind off the perceived or real judgements about your body by the people around you. We live in a society that is mad about body image, and we too, are driven mad trying to keep up to the standards. The loss of a limb can wreak havoc on your self-image.

The cumulative effect of these physical and emotional side effects alters the course of your life. But you are still in the driver’s seat of your life. Where you go is up to you.