There is a wide spectrum of injuries that you can suffer in an accident in Baltimore. While the circumstances of the accident often dictate the nature of your injury – bike accidents often lead to wrist injuries, car accidents typically lead to whiplash, and slip and falls can end with broken bones – even the simplest accident can lead to serious injuries, if the planets are aligned against you.
Among the worst kinds of injuries that you can suffer is the loss of a limb. Amputation injuries are incredibly costly. Worse, they are permanently debilitating and disabling, and emotionally traumatizing.
When you have been involved in an accident that was caused by someone else and lost a limb, you need a personal injury attorney to fight for your right to compensation. The attorneys at the Baltimore law office of Gilman & Bedigian can help.
Loss of Limb Statistics
Losing a limb in an accident is a shockingly common scenario. According to one study published in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, in 2005 there were 1.6 million people in the U.S. who have lost a limb, amounting to one out of every 190 people. Every year, around 185,000 amputations occur in the U.S., accounting for more than eight billion dollars in medical expenses each year.
Causes of Amputation Injuries
Amputation injuries can happen in a wide variety of situations, from health conditions to motor vehicle accidents to construction accidents. However, they can also be the result of an instance of medical malpractice after even the most trivial accident.
The slim majority of amputation injuries, though, come from vascular diseases: 54% of the limb losses in America were the result of diseases like diabetes and peripheral arterial disease. These amputations, though, can still be the result of an instance of medical malpractice if the diagnosing doctor makes a mistake that pushes you towards losing a limb, rather than preventing it from happening.
However, nearly all of the remaining amputations – 45% of the total – came from traumatic accidents. These can happen in numerous circumstances, including:
- Motor vehicle accidents. Some of the worst car crashes come with such force that you can lose a limb in the collision. If you are riding a bicycle or a motorcycle, this becomes a very real possibility because of the lack of protection you have against other vehicles on the road. Even if you do not lose a limb in the collision, though, does not mean that you will not lose one because of the crash: If you suffer a severely broken bone, amputation might be the only option.
- Construction accidents. Many accidents that cause you to lose a limb happen on a construction site. The prevalence of heavy machinery, time spent high above the ground, and the abundance of heavy building products all pose risks of an amputation injury, should something go wrong. Cases like these often give rise to workers' compensation claims.
- Burn injuries. Severe burns can lead to the loss of a limb, as tissues become compromised and weakened.
- Medical malpractice. The mistakes of a doctor or surgeon can turn less serious injuries into those that require an amputation. Whether because a medical professional failed to correct a different injury to one of your limbs or whether they failed to contain an infection that so compromised one of your extremities that the only option is amputation, doctors and surgeons can be the cause of the loss of one of your limbs.
Types of Amputation Injuries
The loss of a limb does not just have to be a leg or an arm: These injuries include any one of your extremities or body parts, making amputations span a wide spectrum of severity. For example, lower-limb amputations include:
- Digital amputation, or the loss of one of your toes. Even these amputations vary in severity, as the amputation of your big toe is far more severe that the loss of one of the others. Additionally, surgeons conduct the amputation at one of the two joints in the toe, or at the base of the toe, where it connects to the foot.
- Ankle disarticulation, or the amputation of your foot at the point where it connects to your ankle.
- Below-the-knee amputation, or the amputation of your leg below the knee. This leaves your knee intact for the use of a prosthetic.
- Through-the-knee amputation, or the amputation of your leg above the knee.
- Hip disarticulation, or the removal of your leg from where it connects to your pelvis.
Upper body limb losses follow the same formula, with increasingly severe amputations occurring further and further away from the end of your extremity and closer to your torso.
Complications from the Loss of a Limb
While many amputations happen to prevent further medical problems or to reduce your debilitation and pain, they can also produce severe complications, on their own.
Perhaps the worst is the threat posed by an infection at the site of the amputation. These infections can become life-threatening if not detected and treated. They can even lead to further amputations as doctors struggle to contain the spread of the infection, and are forced to conduct another amputation.
The most common complication from the loss of a limb, though, is the pain, suffering, and the shock that come with losing an appendage. It can take years to get used to the fact that you no longer have an arm or a leg, and the sudden inability to do the things that you are used to doing can create emotional and mental suffering that drastically reduce your quality of life.
Baltimore Personal Injury Attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian
The personal injury attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian strive to represent people who have lost a limb in an accident or instance of medical malpractice. By advocating on your behalf, we can fight for the compensation that you deserve after suffering such a terrible injury.
Contact us online if you or someone you love has lost a limb in Baltimore or the surrounding area.