Amputation injuries are devastating and so the right rehabilitation is vital from the start if you are to achieve the best recovery possible. In our experience, rehabilitation has a hugely positive impact on the lives of amputees.
Rehabilitation is about medical treatment, counselling, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, prosthetics, equipment, adaptations to your home or buying a new home. Specialist case management advice from suitably qualified professionals needs to be set up to ensure you get the right support network. As you move on in your recovery, it is necessary to assess how the amputation has affected you in your workplace, and therefore employment and vocational rehabilitation is also essential.
It is vital that anyone who has suffered an amputation is represented by a specialist solicitor. At NewLaw we have a wealth of experience in helping amputees, and have recovered millions of pounds in compensation for our clients. With both legal expertise and our in-depth knowledge of the medical and rehabilitation issues involved, we are able to ensure that every angle is covered. In particular, keeping up with technological advances in the development of prosthetic limbs is a vital part of our work, to ensure that our clients get the very best help available.
What is Amputation Injury?
An amputation is the surgical removal of any part of the body, such as an arm, hand or leg.
Who is affected by Amputation?
Approximately 5000 - 6000 major limb amputations are carried out in England every year.
In the UK, some of the main reasons why amputations are carried out include:
People with diabetes are also at an increased risk of amputation. This is because diabetes can lead to nerve damage in the limbs, making the person less aware of any minor injury or wound, particularly those affecting the feet.
What are the Difficulties and what can I do?
The outlook for people with an amputation largely depends on:
Many people who have had an amputation reported feeling emotions such as grief and bereavement, similar to experiencing the death of a loved one. Some people have feelings such as pain in the remaining part of their limb, or ‘phantom pain’ that feels like it's coming from the amputated part of the limb.
However, with long-term support, rehabilitation and quality prosthetics properly fitted, people are eventually able to return to work, sports and other activities.
Many people who have an amputation will experience some degree of stump pain or ‘phantom limb’ pain. This is when a person experiences sensations that seem to be coming from the limb that has been amputated. Sometimes this is just awareness of the limb, but it can occasionally be painful. Symptoms can range from mild to severe. The causes of phantom limb pain are unclear. There are three main theories:
Stump pain can have many different causes, including rubbing or sores where the stump touches a prosthetic limb, nerve damage during surgery, and the development of neuromas.
Treatment for stump and phantom limb pain can be in the form of:
The psychological impact of amputation can be considerable, and coming to terms with it is often as important as coping with the physical demands. It is common to experience negative thoughts and emotions after an amputation. This is especially true in people who had an emergency amputation, as they did not have time to mentally prepare themselves for the effects of surgery.
Common negative emotions and thoughts experienced by people after an amputation can include:
You may require additional treatment, such as antidepressants or counselling, to improve your ability to cope with living with an amputation.
How can claiming for compensation help me?
Claiming compensation will give you access to the best rehabilitation and prosthetics providers to maximise your recovery, and therefore your independence, following the accident. The NHS provides excellent care at the acute stage following an injury, but long term rehabilitation and quality prosthetics can be lacking. Making a successful claim for compensation will mean funding is made available for a range of expert input including:
Access to this expert support and advice will help you maximise your recovery and independence, and give you the quality of life you deserve.
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