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The scope and impact of traumatic amputation injuries

The partial or total loss of a limb creates an instant disability. The majority of amputations performed in Illinois and across the U.S. are due to complications of vascular disease. The remaining losses are traumatic amputations caused by workplace, home or auto accidents.

According to the National Limb Loss Information Center, approximately 1.9 million people nationwide are amputees. Forty-five percent are traumatic amputation victims. Reattachment procedures can be successful, even when a body part is completely severed. However, victims often have secondary complications of infection, bleeding, crush injuries and shock.

More than 21,000 amputation procedures were performed in Illinois between 2009 and 2012. Over 19,800 procedures were lower-limb amputations compared to about 1,200 upper limb procedures. Toe losses and above- and below-knee amputations made up more than 84 percent of lower-limb procedures in 2012 – upper-limb amputations typically involved the loss of fingers.

Illinois amputation patients were most commonly males, between 45 and 64. A significant percentage of victims was 65 or older. Amputations among men occurred more than twice as often as procedures for women.

Medical expenses associated with amputations are substantial when factoring in hospitalization, inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation and the costs of a prosthetic device. Over a two-year period, the estimated financial burden for a unilateral lower-limb amputee's care can exceed $91,000, with life-long expenses adding up to more than half a million dollars. The costs are considerably greater for above-knee amputees compared to patients with below-knee amputations.

Health care costs aren't the only financial losses experienced by amputees. Amputation disabilities also can have a tremendous impact upon family finances due to a wage earner's lost income. An amputee may not be able to return to his or her job or may lose income by being forced to take a job that pays less.

Marquardt and Belmonte attorneys can help families seek compensation, when disabling injuries are due to another driver's negligence.

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Marquardt & Belmonte, P.C.

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