Causes and effects of amputations

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Amputation is the loss or removal of a limb, such as toes, fingers, hands, feet, arms and legs. It can be a very traumatising experience for the person who has experienced it; it could be caused by different factors such as medical negligence, a physical injury or a medical condition such as diabetes and many others.

Amputations caused by a road traffic accident

A road traffic accident can cause amputation of your limbs because if you are travelling at a high speed and you end up in a car crash, it is very likely that your vehicle will end up damaged. Sometimes the crash can cause the vehicle to become so damaged that limbs could get crushed because of the damage. In some cases, after a car crash, surgical amputation would be needed to prevent further damage and save the person’s life.

Amputations due to medical negligence

Medical negligence can cause amputation of your limbs; this could be due to a misdiagnosis by your GP. If you have concerns about your health and are misdiagnosed by your GP, you may get sent to the wrong professional meaning you will not be misinformed about your condition. A medical condition that could cause amputation of your limbs could be, for example, caused by a reduced blood supply to limbs or an infection in a wound. When a medical condition is neglected it will become worse over time, an infection could spread in your limb and cause nerve damage, this will then lead to needing surgery and potentially losing your limbs.

Amputations due to accidents at work

Many harmful accidents occur in a workplace where there is a lot of machinery or heavy equipment. Heavy and dangerous machinery can lead to accidents that could potentially lead to an amputation of your limbs. If you experience you or your colleague losing a limb, make sure to first put pressure on the wound is bleeding to stop them from bleeding out, and then put the separated limb in ice and transport the person to the hospital as quickly as possible call any emergency services.

Physical effects of amputations

Straight after the amputation surgery, it is very important to make sure that your wound does not get infected. An infection happens when the germs enter the wound; after entering, they begin to multiply. This can have an impact on your health, sometimes it could even lead to a life-threatening condition like sepsis.

The physical effects of amputation are severe; these include mobility and dexterity. An amputation will mainly affect the person’s mobility, and the individual will struggle to carry out daily activities. It will influence the amputee’s balance, and it will be much more difficult for them to perform daily activities. 

Daily activities for amputees are a lot harder, as they must put a lot more effort into their everyday tasks, leading to higher levels of tiredness and fatigue. Even medication to reduce pain can make them a lot sleepier as painkillers have an impact on the chemicals in your brain, which control how tired you are.

In some cases, the person can still feel their limb that is not there anymore and may feel limb pain. When the limb is amputated; the nerves remain in place and these send signals to the brain which can be misinterpreted and send the signals as a sensation of pain.

Mental effects of amputation

Having your limb amputated will have a detrimental effect on the person’s mental health. That is because it is a very traumatising experience which will stay with that person for the rest of their life. 

The person could get PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), which is a mental health condition that can occur in people who have experienced a traumatising event in their life. In this case, the person may have memories and flashbacks of the accident that happened. PTSD could cause the individual to have nightmares and panic attacks when having to be placed in situations that remind them of the accident, 

PTSD may make it harder for individuals to interact in social environments. Individuals may also find it difficult to participate in different physical activities due to not having a limb. Due to the pain, they may not even be able to socialise with other people; this can cause the person to feel isolated from everyone else. Personal isolation could then cause depression, which can be detrimental to their mental health. 

After such a traumatising event, it is very hard to try and move on, especially when you cannot accept the “new you”. Amputees usually have problems with accepting their new body, as they may feel like their appearance may draw attention to them. It is very common for amputees to try to cover up their body issues as they may not feel comfortable in their bodies. It is a very difficult situation to adapt to.

Moving forward is very hard for the people who have experienced an accident like that, some people will look at the positive sides of their story. Positive thinking will help them accept their “new body”, and they will begin to accept it, making it easier to adapt to the new situation they have been put into. Positive thinking will also have a positive outcome on the physical effects of amputation as that person will believe in themselves more and will be able to learn how to carry out daily activities easier and better, and rebuild their life.

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