Wound Care – Part 10 “Amputations”
An amputation is a complete or partial severing of a body part from the body as a whole, this can be and is mainly classified as a serious injury and should always require further medical attention. “Although there may be vast amounts of damage to the tissues, bleeding is usually not severe”, the body will protect itself even during times of severe emergencies. However, bleeding can increase with time and can become a life threatening event on its own and must be taken care of as well as the amputated body part. The most common question we hear from students in our First Aid Course is “Can the body part be put back?”, unfortunately there are many factors that do come into account for any body part that has been removed, age, time, athleticism, amount of damage all become factors against the body part. Medical professional’s and technology have advanced in the last few years and chances of re-attaching a body part has improved “But is never guaranteed”.
- -Any force great enough to partially or completely cut or tear away a limp, body part, or piece of the body from the body as a whole.
- -Wear PPE or Personal Protective Equipment when available
- -Follow safety procedures
- -Take precautions around rotating or sharp equipment, tools or objects.
What it Looks Like:
- -Missing body parts
- -A part of the body partially or completely disconnected from the rest of the body
How to Help:
1) Check the area, once the area is safe, Check the person and ensure the persons ABC’s are present “Airway / Breathing / Circulation“ REMEMBER – Wear gloves if available to avoid bodily fluids.
2) Call 911 if you suspect the injuries could be severe, if there are airway could be blocked or there is excessive bleeding. Always call 911 for an amputation, this will let the hospital know your coming!
3) Care for the Amputation by:
***Victim Comes First***
- -Control bleeding, apply direct pressure to the wound, use pressure bandages to help slow the blood flow, use pressure points by placing a firm object in the joint above the amputation. “Never apply a tourniquet unless advised to do so by a medical professional” Tourniquet’s should be applied by professionals or under the guidance of a Trained Medical Professional like a 911 dispatcher.
1)”Wrap it & Strap It” Retrieve the body part and wrap it up in a clean cloth, “Never wash the body part” The body part will be cleaned by a physician and contaminants will be removed, washing the body part may render the body part unsuitable for reattachment.
2)”Bag it & Tag it” Place the amputated body part in a “seal-able” plastic bag, this will prevent further contamination. If there is time write the victims name on the bag to prevent loss of the body part at the medical facility. Make sure the body part goes with the injured person to the hospital!
3) “Keep it Cool BUT not Cold” Keep the amputated body part cool by placing the bag on ice, be careful not to let the body part freeze. “The body part should not freeze if wrapped & strapped”
- If the limb or part is only “Partially” disconnected from the body, put the limb back in place and treat the injury as an “Open Wound or Fracture”
We never know what can happen, its always good to be prepared and have the knowledge we need to help those who need it.
“This material is for information purposes only and is taken from The Canadian Red Cross / Alberta Heart & Stroke Foundation & Alberta Health Services. This information should not be used in place of medical, Technical advice, instructor, and/or treatment. If you have questions, speak to your local Physician or Safety Training Facility.”
Protect Yourself!!! Call 911!!! Don’t Waste Time!!!