Amputations (of any body part) are a major change in a person’s life, almost intrusive on a personal level. Usually they occur when a body part is majorly injured or infected. In simple terms they are described as the “surgical removal of a body part”. In the UK, over 5,000 major limb amputations are thought to be carried out each year according to the NHS.
This past month, a news story has been circulated around many of the main media outlets regarding the unfortunate incident involving a teenager (Leah Washington) requiring an amputation to her leg following a ride malfunction at the popular theme park Alton Towers.
The incident took place on a ride which has been plagued with problems it’s entire working life, The Smiler. Serious injuries on rollercoasters are thankfully not a common occurrence due to the strict testing each one must go through to ensure any thrill seeker on board is as safe as possible. Unfortunately however, amputations occur in all manner of circumstances elsewhere in life. Some of the more common causes include:
- Road traffic accidents
- Industrial accidents
- Work accidents
- Clinical negligence cases
- Serious infections
In all instances, including Leah’s this summer; they can have very serious consequences.
The Smiler was the cause of the accident resulting in Leah’s amputation
Amputations are instantly life changing ordeals. After living your entire life with full function, that normality is completely thrown into disarray. As soon as they leave the hospital, an amputee may suffer emotional scars as they see themselves without a body part. This can cause serious self esteem problems.
At the same time, it’s a steep learning curve requiring to adapt life and everyday situations to not having that body part, be it an arm, hand, leg, foot or even fingers or toes. Upon arriving home even basic tasks could turn into a drawn out, laborious process. An amputee may have trouble performing tasks such as:
- Walking up stairs
- Moving around the house
- Opening doors and cupboards
- Holding regular household objects
The time required to get used to this has to be rapid as the affected person will never be able to perform those tasks the same again. Thankfully, due to advancement in scientific development, we are much better able to simulate having these limbs now, but even that isn’t a replacement for the damage caused.
Long term scarring
It’s not unusual for an amputee to be forced to leave their job depending on the physical strain required, or adapt their role to allow them to continue. Thankfully in the UK those suffering from an amputation are currently entitled to disability benefits in some capacity; however, this is unlikely to match potential earnings an amputee could have with a long, prosperous career.
After her Alton Towers ordeal, Leah will likely have to adapt her future life around what she is and isn’t physically able to do. This is the case for most negligence victims with amputations, and this will not only affect her, but her family too. Not being able to fully enjoy physical activities the same will be a lasting side effect alongside taking longer to travel on foot, requiring more time planning.
The cost of life could increase with an amputation as alterations to housing could have to be made or equipment purchased to make life easier. In Leah’s case she may require a prosthetic or a wheelchair when out of the house to assist with movement. This also is a common long term after effect of an amputation.
Dramatic lifestyle changes may be required following an amputation
Options following surgery
If you or a loved one were to suffer an accident resulting in amputation, you or they would almost certainly need to alter your lifestyle and living conditions in some form. If the amputation was caused as a result of somebody else’s negligence, then there would be scope to be able to recoup the damage caused and allow you or your loved one to secure themselves financially following the injury. While full recovery will never be a possibility, the financial burden of requiring lifestyle changes due to somebody else’s fault can be eased.
Nobody should be left to carry the burden for the cost of an amputation caused by another (mentally as well as financially). Leah will now have to live without the lower half of one leg due to an accident as the result of a defect that, all being well, could have completely changed the events of that day.
Sincere Law has been dealing with serious injuries like Leah’s leg for over 20 years, with many cases involving amputated limbs during that time. We’ve learned the importance of life after amputation and if it was ever to happen to yourself or a loved one, you need to know what you can do to get life back to normal, including claiming compensation. If you or your family member ever suffers from misfortune as a result of another’s negligence, please call us on 0800 092 2896 or contact us via www.sincerelaw.co.uk to see what we could do for you.