Amputation survivors have always been intrepid. Former chief justice of the Georgia Supreme court lost a leg at 20 and through grit and determination rose to Chief Justice while walking on a traditional prosthetic leg.
Bradley Johnson lost both legs in a car wreck before he started law school. He is one of the most infectiously optimistic cheerful people I have known. He competed in the Paralympics on the U.S. sailing and volleyball teams and is an inspiration.
Here in Atlanta, Scott Rigsby is a double amputee who has competed in marathons and even the Iron Man Triathlon on high-tech prosthetics. Sometimes on the drive to work, I have seen him out running boot camp groups runs around Buckhead. Years ago, if we represented someone with an amputation injury, we were limited to talking about the effect on income and quality of life and the cost of some low tech prosthetics. Now we can do life care plans that include the cost of replacing those high-tech prosthetics that are getting better all the time, 15 to 25 times over a person’s lifetime in order to empower the amputee to overcome that injury and live life to the fullest. Leg amputation injuries are among the most severe and life-changing injuries that can occur, with profound physical, emotional, and financial consequences. The physical and emotional consequences of losing a limb are obviously profound, affecting mobility, independence, and overall quality of life. Leg amputations can result from various incidents, including car and truck accidents, workplace accidents, medical malpractice, and product defects. In addition to the immediate trauma and obvious impairment, survivors of leg amputations often face ongoing medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, and the need for assistive devices and prosthetics. As personal injury attorneys, our job is to obtain the financial resources necessary to fund rehabilitation and long-term well-being. Beyond legal assistance, we often have networks and resources that can help amputation survivors access the necessary medical care, rehabilitation services, and support systems. They can connect clients with healthcare professionals, prosthetists, physical therapists, and counselors who specialize in working with amputees. These support systems play a crucial role in the physical and emotional recovery of survivors, helping them adapt to their new circumstances and regain independence. Whenever possible, we seek to handle cases in a manner to transform lives for the better. In one recent case, we represented a young woman who had an above-the-knee leg amputation due to injuries in a catastrophic auto accident. We were able to recover nearly $8 million dollars. Out of that, we arranged for the purchase of a pleasant home in a good school district in which to raise her daughter, arrange a solid base of monthly income, set aside funds for regular maintenance and replacement of her prosthetics, and fund her lifelong aspiration to go to nursing school to become a registered nurse
Rehabilitation following leg amputation is a comprehensive process aimed at helping individuals adapt physically, emotionally, and functionally to their new circumstances. The primary goals of rehabilitation are to enhance mobility, promote independence, and improve the overall quality of life.
Here is a summary of the rehabilitation process for leg amputees:
1. Preoperative education: Before the amputation, patients receive information about the surgery, prosthetics, and rehabilitation process. This helps them mentally prepare for the procedure and understand what to expect afterward.
2. Postoperative care: After the amputation, patients undergo a period of recovery in the hospital. This includes wound healing, pain management, and early mobilization.
3. Prosthetic evaluation and fitting: Once the wound has healed, patients are assessed for a prosthetic limb. To respond to the needs of veterans who lost legs the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, doctors and engineers developed high tech prosthetics that continues to benefit both veterans and civilians. The rehabilitation team, including prosthetists and therapists, evaluate the patient’s residual limb condition, strength, and functional abilities to determine the most suitable prosthetic device. 4. Prosthetic training: This phase involves learning how to use and care for the prosthetic limb. Patients are taught how to don and doff the prosthesis, maintain proper hygiene, and perform basic tasks such as walking, standing, and transferring.
5. Gait training: Gait training focuses on improving walking patterns, balance, and coordination with the prosthetic limb. Physical therapists employ various techniques and exercises to optimize gait mechanics and reduce compensatory movements.
6. Strength and endurance exercises: Rehabilitation includes specific exercises to build strength and endurance in the residual limb, as well as the upper body. Strengthening exercises help improve functional abilities and minimize strain on the remaining joints.
7. Pain management: Many amputees may experience phantom limb pain or residual limb discomfort. Rehabilitation includes pain management strategies such as medication, physical therapy modalities, and psychological interventions to address these issues.
8. Activities of daily living (ADL) training: Rehabilitation also focuses on relearning and adapting to daily activities such as dressing, bathing, and household tasks. Occupational therapists assist patients in regaining independence and developing strategies to overcome challenges.
9. Psychological support: Coping with limb loss can be emotionally challenging. Rehabilitation often includes counseling and support groups to address psychological and emotional aspects, promoting mental well-being and adjustment to the new situation.
10. Community reintegration: The final phase of rehabilitation involves preparing patients for a successful return to their communities. It may involve vocational training, driving assessment, and recreational activities to facilitate social integration and participation in meaningful activities. Throughout the rehabilitation process, the care team collaborates closely with the patient to set realistic goals and monitor progress. Individualized treatment plans are designed to address specific needs and abilities, ensuring a comprehensive and successful rehabilitation journey.
Amputation injuries can leave individuals feeling helpless and uncertain about their future. Representing amputation survivors, we seek to play vital role in empowering amputation survivors by providing compassionate support, expert legal representation, and the resources needed to rebuild their lives. Through their advocacy, we help survivors regain control and restore their sense of dignity, ensuring they receive the necessary care and support to move forward with confidence. Leg amputation injuries.
Leg amputation injuries can have a profound impact on the lives of survivors and their families. As personal injury lawyers, we offer vital support, helping amputation survivors seek justice, secure compensation, and access the resources needed for their physical, emotional, and financial recovery. By partnering with a compassionate and experienced legal team, amputation survivors can embark on the journey of rebuilding their lives with confidence.
Ken Shigley, senior counsel at Johnson & Ward, is a former president of the State Bar of Georgia (2011-12). He was the first Georgia lawyer to earn three board certifications from the National Board of Trial Advocacy (Civil Trial Advocacy, Civil Pretrial Advocacy, and Truck Accident Law). In 2019, he received the Traditions of Excellence Award for lifetime achievement. Mr. Shigley was the lead author of eleven editions of Georgia Law of Torts: Trial Preparation and Practice (Thomson Reuters, 2010-21). He graduated from Furman University and Emory University Law School, and completed certificate courses in trial practice, negotiation and mediation at Harvard Law School.