Amputation – Loss of Limb Litigation

In most instances, amputation is thought of as the removal of a body part via surgery or trauma. It is usually performed to stop the spread of a disease or limit an existing malady.

Amputation has a rather colorful history starting in the 15th century when doctors performed surgical intervention on gangrenous or severely injured limbs. “Needless to say the results were often less than perfect due to infection and major blood loss,” indicated Christopher Mellino, of the Mellino Law Firm in Cleveland, Ohio. Amputations weren’t performed with any degree of frequency until the 19th century when anesthesia was introduced into the equation and blood loss and infection control became more effective.

By the time the 20th century rolled around, the better the medicine, the better the amputations – often resulting in prosthetic limbs and longer, healthier lives. In the 21st century the major reasons for amputations include gangrene, diabetic foot infections, bone infections, cancerous bone or soft tissue tumors, and traumatic limb injuries. The amputation itself results from negligence in gangrene cases, or as the result of vascular injuries that were not recognized soon enough to be treated in a conventional manner.

“In fact, failing to diagnose vascular insufficiency when the arteries in the leg are blocked from blood clots is a common source of below or above the knee amputations,” said Mellino. Other loss of limb injuries may be the result of a person losing the function of a limb due to a nerve injury. In addition, there is also the medical mismanagement of a diabetic foot that may result in a medical malpractice case, although these amputations may also be due to gangrene.

In dealing with amputations over the years, I have seen many different forms that included fingers and toes as well as portions of toes or fingers. Calculating a just compensation in these cases is difficult,” added Mellino. Prosthethics are costly and need to be upgraded and replaced over the course of their useful life and if the amputation that resulted in the need for prosthetics was due to a negligent act by someone else, the person who caused the injury should bear the costs.

The costs don’t just stop there either. An amputee may be looking at significant expenses to modify vehicles, their workplaces or their homes. In home renovations to accommodate the injury should not be the responsibility of the victim either. This is another element used in the calculation of damages when such a case makes it way to the courts. “We also factor in medical bills, rehabilitation, pain and suffering, therapy, lost wages and loss of consortium, etc,” explained Mellino.

This isn’t an easy area of the law and many of the clients that Mellino handles have faced a lot of devastating trauma. Mellino’s reputation for treating his clients with respect and dignity is well-earned, and he will go to great lengths to ensure his clients get justice and fair compensation.

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