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Coping with the loss of a limb

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How can a personal injury affect my life?

Losing a limb is unquestionably a life changing event but is a daunting reality for thousands of people in the UK each year.

The four main reasons why an amputation is performed are:

  • Serious trauma, such as an accident involving a crush or blast wound
  • Severe infection
  • Gangrene
  • Deformity with limited movement and function.

Following an amputation it can be difficult to come to terms with the changes to your body, however there are many services available to help you through this challenging time, and learn new ways to manage day to day tasks. 

Rehabilitation such as physiotherapy or desensitisation (to help you become familiar with touching your wound) will usually be provided. It can be frustrating having to learn to do tasks which were once taken for granted, however with perseverance and determination you should be able to return to many of the activities enjoyed prior to your amputation. Treatment will start with very simple exercises soon after surgery, progressing to a more focussed exercise programme as your wound heals.

Depending on your own needs a wheelchair or prosthetic may be provided to help improve mobility. Prosthetics are not suitable for everyone and whether you wish to consider this option will depend on your own personal goals. Adjusting to life with a prosthetic limb can take a considerable amount of energy because you have to compensate for the loss of muscle and bone in the amputated limb as you adjust, however technology continues to develop offering more and more opportunities to improve your lifestyle.

As well as the physical and practical implications of the loss of a limb, it can unsurprisingly cause considerable psychological impact. Many find the experience overwhelming and compare the emotions to the loss of a loved one.

Anxiety, depression, and even suicidal thoughts are all common emotions experienced following an amputation therefore it is important to speak to a doctor or care team about the way that you feel. Antidepressants or counselling may be recommended to help you cope with the loss and come to terms with the change to your body.

There are also many charities and support groups offering extra guidance and advice to help ensure a good quality of life and adjustment for those living with an amputation.

If you or your family have suffered an amputation due to an accident it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible. Our knowledgeable team can help to ensure you get the compensation and support that you deserve. Call our experts now on 0175 321 6399.

By Katie Plappert, litigation executive in the personal injury department

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