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Amputation refers to the removal of a body part. Amputations can occur due to accidents or trauma, prolonged constriction, infection or disease. While certain amputations are planned surgical procedures, others are the direct result of an accident and are therefore entirely unplanned.

As far as surgery is concerned, a surgeon may need to amputate in order to control the spread of disease in the affected limb as in malignancy or gangrene, or it can be performed in a hospital due to complications associated with diabetes. However, amputation can also happen during an accident, or a hospital may need to amputate shortly after an accident because the injured body part was severely mangled and therefore completely useless.

In some cases, all is not lost. For the lucky ones, sometimes an amputated body part can be successfully reattached and this depends upon what body part was amputated, the condition of the body part that was amputated, how much time elapsed since the body part was amputated, and the overall health of the injured person.

Whatever the outcome is from your amputation, you have a right to recover financial compensation for the damages you suffered. These damages might be expensive medical bills, lost wages due to being out of work during your recovery, pain and suffering and more. At McGuire Law, PLC, we have an Iowa personal injury attorney who can help you fight for fair payment from the individual or entity that is responsible for your injury.


If your own finger or other body part was amputated in an accident, you would probably opt for reattachment if you were given the choice. For this reason, whether an accident severs your body part, your child’s body part or anyone else’s body part, the emergency steps you take in those moments afterward may allow for a successful reattachment.

This is what one should do if they witness or experience an amputation:

  • Call 911 immediately.
  • Stop the bleeding.
  • If at all possible, wash your hands and put on latex gloves. If you don’t have access to the gloves, use several layers of clean cloth, or plastic bags, or the cleanest fabric available and place it between your hands and the wound when stopping the bleeding.
  • Have the injured person lie down and elevate the injury site (unless a head, neck, back or leg injury is suspected).
  • Remove or cut clothing away from the wound, and anything else touching the wound.
  • Apply firm pressure for at least 15 minutes.
  • Keep the injured person warm by covering them with a blanket or coat.
  • If the cloth becomes blood soaked, apply another cloth on top of the old one; do not remove the old cloth. If there is an object wedged in the wound, apply pressure around it, not over it.
  • Do everything possible to keep the wound area clean.
  • As soon as the bleeding is under control, check for any other injuries that may need emergency medical treatment.

The trauma of an accident or losing a body part can be extremely severe and cause physiological shock. The symptoms of physiological shock include loss of consciousness, dizziness, weakness, loss of alertness and confusion. Remember that saving the person’s life is more important than saving the injured body part, and don’t forget to look for less obvious injuries.

Be sure not to try and push any part back into place, and don’t decide that the body part is too small to be saved. On the other end of the spectrum, it’s equally important not to raise false hopes of reattachment. Whatever you do, do not use a tourniquet unless the bleeding is life-threatening.

It’s important to keep the severed body part clean and cool. To accomplish this, wrap the body part in a clean, yet damp cloth and then place it inside a sealed plastic bag, and then place the bag in ice cold water. Do not put the body part directly in the water without placing it in a plastic bag first. If you don’t have any cold water available, then keep the body part away from heat if at all possible. Either save the injured body part for the medical team or take it to the hospital, whichever comes first. Cooling the severed body part will preserve it for about 18 hours; however, not cooling it will only preserve it for 4 to 6 hours.

Contact us today to schedule a complimentary consultation with Attorney James P. McGuire. We provide representations to injury victims in various Iowa communities.

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