One of the most devastating bicycle accident injuries to sustain is a severed limb. This can happen when an arm or leg is crushed and mangled, or pinned between a vehicle and another object, such as a building, wall or fence. The impact goes beyond the physical loss. It is a very costly injury that can have serious psychological effects on injured bicyclists in Denver.
Treatment Options for a Severed Limb: Reattachment
In the event of a serious traumatic injury, such as a severed limb, there are numerous complications that arise. One of the most worrisome is infection. But there could also be joint deformity and necrosis (tissue death).
Whatever type of surgery is performed—whether to reattach the limb or prepare it for prosthesis—prolonged immobilization after surgery may also increase the risk of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism.
It may be possible to reattach a limb. This depends on several factors, such as the person’s overall health, condition of the severed limb, and more. Since the limb is completely separated from tissue, muscles, tendons, blood vessels and ligaments, all of these must be reconnected.
But it’s not just a one-time surgical procedure. It typically requires multiple operations for reconstruction, including skin grafts. And there isn’t a guarantee the limb will return to normal function.
There can be significant limitations and complications that accompany a reattachment:
- skin irritation;
- limited range-of-motion;
- loss of sensation; and
- stiff joints.
Treatment Options for a Severed Limb: Prosthetic Device
When the limb can’t be reattached, the area is surgically repaired. Skin is used to cover the open wound. Depending on recovery, a couple of weeks after surgery the patient may start practicing with an artificial limb. This includes putting it on and taking it off, learning to walk on it (if it’s a leg) or learning how to use an artificial arm.
Of course, sometimes the damage is so bad that a prosthesis isn’t possible. In that case the person might need to learn how to use a wheelchair or another assistive device depending on the limb.
Recovery Process for Severed Limb and How It May Impact a Claim
The recovery can be lengthy. Pain medication and antibiotics will be necessary for a time. After surgery the patient will undergo physical therapy, which depends on the nature of the injury.
It could include learning how to get in and out of a wheelchair or performing exercises to strengthen a limb that’s been reattached. All of the costs associated with the injury (immediately after the accident and long-term) may be addressed in a claim if someone else was at fault.
The psychological impact can be severe. Many people experience what’s called phantom pain, a sensation or pain in the limb that’s been severed. Some go through emotional problems, such as depression. This may require participation in a support group and/or individualized counseling. The claim could address psychological damages.
There is also the impact it can have on a patient with regard to work, some may not be able to return to their line of work. Others require modifications in their job tasks and may have to take a pay cut. Lost wages may also be included in the claim.
D.J. Banovitz helps bicycle accident victims in the Denver area pursue compensation for their damages, many of which were mentioned above. Call 303-300-5060 to set up a consultation.