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Accidents and trauma are leading causes for amputations

Amputations will change the lives of those who undergo the procedure. Generally speaking, these injuries are irreversible. They bring about life-long changes that may be fundamental to the way a person lives.

Prosthetic limbs can help. Many people with prosthetic legs can still run or hike, for example. However, many other activities are lost forever. The person's quality of life can change. He or she may never work again. Depressing thoughts are common. Therapy is needed, both physically and mentally.

One woman said that she was in a coma while her arm was amputated. After three days, she woke up to discover that it was gone. She tried to tell herself it was all a dream and desperately wanted to go back to sleep.

Accidents and trauma are some of the leading causes for these procedures. Technically, when looking at lower extremities, vascular diseases top the list. They're then followed by things like cancer, accidents and diabetes.

However, for upper extremity amputations, nothing causes more of them than trauma. These incidents are 17 times as rare as leg amputations, but they still do happen, and it's not disease that leads to most of them.

Experts stress positive attitudes, support systems and other tactics for dealing with the emotional and psychological side of an amputation. These things absolutely can help, but there's no way to make this easy. It's always hard. If someone else caused the accident -- a car accident, perhaps -- that led to the amputation, it can feel very unfair.

At times like these, it's important for those whose lives have been changed forever to know what legal options they have.

Source: My Handicap, "Amputation – an irreversible change," accessed Nov. 30, 2017

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