Recovering from the loss of a limb

Recovering from the loss of a limb

The loss of a limb is unquestionably tragic. While you may have heard inspiring stories of people who have lost arms or legs and have gone on to achieve great athletic feats, the reality is that those who lose limbs face day-to-day struggles with routine tasks.

When you suffer the amputation of an arm, a leg or a hand, not even your doctor can fully prepare you for what lies ahead. As determined as you may be to adapt to your new reality and move forward with your life, you should know what to expect and understand the financial impact your injury may have on your life.

What you can expect after losing a limb

Immediately following an accident involving severe trauma, doctors assess the amount of damage to your limb and how much tissue and function they could save. They seal off the bone and nerves and prepare the remaining muscles to use a prosthesis in the future.

You would likely spend a week or two in the hospital recovering from surgery and working with a physical therapist. Doctors will watch for complications, such as blood clots or infection. Upon your release from the hospital, you could expect the following:

  • Meeting regularly with a physical therapist
  • Getting fitted for a prosthetic limb
  • Learning how to use your prosthetic and relearning basic life functions
  • Returning throughout the rest of your life for adjustment or replacement of prosthetics as your needs change
  • Learning to cope with phantom pain in the lost appendage

Phantom pain is real pain, not imagined, that comes from your brain's memories of pain in the missing limb. You may have to undergo additional treatment to deal with this issue. You may also deal with periods of depression. This is normal for any injury that changes the way your body looks, but you should never dismiss these feelings. It is important that you seek the help you need and surround yourself with those who will advocate for you.

Take advantage of available support

Besides medical and emotional assistance, you may consider seeking legal help during your recovery. You are likely facing astronomical expenses. If your amputation resulted from injuries in a motor vehicle accident, malfunctioning equipment on the job or the negligence of someone else, you may have a case for pursuing compensation in Texas civil courts. While money will not bring back your missing limb, it may help you to obtain the care you need for a bright and hopeful future.

There are approximately 2 million Americans living with amputation. There are many resources and support groups to help you deal with the loss while moving forward with your life.


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