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Helping a loved one through a traumatic amputation

The injuries people suffer in motor vehicle accidents sometimes defy explanation. One person can walk away with minor injuries while someone else involved could suffer serious ones and someone else could die. Moreover, the variety of injuries that could occur are largely unpredictable.

If you and a member of your family become involved in a serious crash, your loved one could suffer a traumatic amputation. Will you know what to do to help? Quick action could give the victim a chance for a better recovery.

Emergency aid for a traumatic amputation

In the initial chaos surrounding an accident, the extent of someone's injuries may not be readily apparent. There could be a significant amount of blood, crushed body tissue at the amputation site and exclamations of pain from your loved one. Until help arrives, you may need to provide critical first aid that includes the following:

  • Help your loved one stay as calm as possible.
  • If your loved one is unconscious, you may need to start cardiopulmonary resuscitation, CPR and rescue breathing.
  • Apply pressure to the amputation site to help control the bleeding.
  • Help prevent shock by laying your loved one flat and lifting his or her feet about a foot off the ground, but only if it is safe to do so. If signs of neck, back or head injuries exist, moving your loved one could do more harm than good.
  • Keep him or her warm and don't leave until emergency medical personnel arrive.
  • If possible, retrieve the severed limb or appendage and keep it with your loved one.
  • You should wrap it in something as clean and dry as possible and place it in a bag or other waterproof container.
  • If cold water or ice is available, the properly packaged limb should go into it, but never directly since it could cause damage. You just need to keep it from heat as much as possible.

Once emergency responders arrive, they will take over the on-scene care of your loved one. If you have the severed limb or appendage, make sure it gets to the hospital with the victim. A limb is only viable for four to six hours without being in a cool environment. After the emergency is over and your loved one is in the hospital, you can take additional steps to provide ongoing support for him or her.

Ongoing support after a traumatic amputation

This is a distressing time in your lives, and you may need further assistance from a variety of people, not just medical personnel. If the accident resulted from another person's negligence, your loved one could pursue the compensation he or she deserves. Understanding the rights and legal options available could help relieve some of the worries regarding finances.

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