Medico-legal guidance for solicitors
Solicitors supporting clients post-amputation should be aware of the potentially severe and serious implications people can experience after losing a limb. Their ability to perform everyday activities - that they could previously perform with ease – can be affected. Amputation can affect people’s physical and social capabilities too, and all should be considered when recommending a period of neurorehabilitation.
Some common causes that can lead to limb amputation include:
- Occupational injuries,
- Road traffic accidents,
- Construction site accidents,
- Medical negligence or malpractice,
- Medical conditions and disorders.
Rehabilitation following amputation can be physically and psychologically complex and may take years before near-normal functions can be brought back and new skills can be learned.
An amputee is taught with therapy and training on how to cope and resume their functional activities. The process aims at restoring independence to the individual to the highest possible level, allowing them to carry out as many normal activities as possible and improve their quality of life.
Successful neurorehabilitation following amputation should be tailored to the patient’s requirements. Rehabilitation should be delivered by therapists across different specialties, working together with the patient to achieve the most effective outcomes. This is made possible by bringing multi-disciplinary teams on board that comprise of experts from physiotherapy, occupational therapy, prosthetics, psychology, nursing and medicine.
Initially, the rehabilitation team deals with pain caused by trauma and the loss of the limb postoperatively. The team also directs special attention to reducing the impact of any post-traumatic stress disorder or other impacts on the patient’s mental health, as well as devising transfer techniques, in which the patient is taught how to independently move from one place to another, such as from a wheelchair to bed or toilet.
Exercises are also employed to maintain adequate mobility at the joints and to improve muscle strength. For those in need of a lower limb prosthesis, physiotherapy and prosthetics also focus on the initial preparation of training patients with new ways of walking on the prosthetic limb. The physiotherapist also takes a lead role in giving instructions to the patient about putting on and taking off the prosthetics.
Gait training, or gait rehabilitation, is the act of learning how to walk, following an injury such as a lower limb amputation. It can take place after a prosthesis is fitted and often involves using the parallel bars.
For upper-limb amputees, special attention is given on training the patient how to take control of the power of prosthesis, and how to position the elbow, wrist and hand using the neuro-muscular drive near the centre of the body. This helps the patient to regain a near-normal function and movement in a more useful and comfortable way.
Amputation injuries caused as a result of traumatic accidents give rise to both subtle and complex medico-legal issues. Similarly, limb amputation as a consequence of medical neglect or occupational injury can also create medical and ethical issues that have to be dealt with in court.
The amputee rehabilitation specialists and medico-legal experts at NRC Medical Experts assess, evaluate and produce high-quality court reports and expert witness testimony that supports solicitors in building the best case for your client.
Meet our experts specialising in amputee rehabilitation and contact us to arrange a complimentary pre-instruction conversation today.