Call today for a consultation


Legal Blog

Can Medical Malpractice Cause an Amputation?

Published: Feb 9, 2021 in Medical Malpractice, Personal Injury

Doctors have an obligation to treat their patients with care, respect, and professionalism. Medical malpractice occurs when a health care provider’s actions or inactions lead to avoidable health issues. One type of medical malpractice outcome is amputation of an appendage or limb, which can be devastating, painful, and costly.

A patient in Illinois who believes they may be a victim of medical malpractice needs to act quickly to recover damages for their injury. The state gives only two years from the time of discovery for a victim to begin a medical malpractice claim. Two years can pass by rapidly, particularly if a victim is trying to deal with the physical and psychological effects of an amputation caused by medical malpractice.

What Constitutes Medical Malpractice?

Doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals can make mistakes. Any form of negligence performed by a medical professional could constitute medical malpractice, whether it was deliberate or not. For instance, a surgeon may accidently leave equipment in a patient because they did not do their due diligence.

The key for a victim is proving that they were harmed by the inactions or actions from a medical professional. For example, a patient whose doctor ignored blatant indications of breast cancer or misdiagnosed common signs of breast cancer for months might be able to file a medical malpractice suit. Each case is unique and must be carefully evaluated before moving forward.

Are Amputations Frequently Seen in Medical Malpractice Cases?

Amputations of legs, arms, fingers, toes, and other appendages are typical in medical practice situations. In fact, some statistics suggest that about six out of every 10 amputations could have been avoided.

An amputation may be needed for multiple reasons, such as an infection that has not been adequately resolved or managed. In rare circumstances, the doctor may remove the wrong limb during an amputation surgery, causing the patient to ultimately undergo two surgeries and amputations.

What are the Results of an Avoidable Amputation?

Any type of amputation can cause a patient a wide range of emotional and physical challenges. Losing any appendage or limb can require years of therapy, as well as working with assistive devices to restore mobility. Sometimes, an amputation can make it impossible for a worker to continue earning an income. Other times, a professional may have to radically change careers in response to an unexpected, preventable amputation.

Daily life is also altered after any kind of amputation. Even losing a finger or toe can make movements harder. Removal of a thumb takes away the gripping ability of the hand. Removal of the big toe changes the way a person balances. Though these might seem like minor amputations, any amputation can have life-altering effects.

From a psychological standpoint, becoming an amputee can change a person’s general outlook on life and self-confidence. Embarrassment, fear, and depression often go hand-in-hand with amputations. When the amputation is due to medical malpractice, patient emotions may be even more intense and include heightened anger and resentment.

Can a Patient Collect Damages in a Medical Malpractice Suit for an Amputation?

Damages can be tough to determine in medical malpractice claims. Patients will have both economic and general damages. Economic damages are much easier to track than general damages because they have a definite value, such as fees attached to medical bills or lost income. General damages are non-economic and include pain and suffering. The pain and suffering of an amputee is almost impossible to fully calculate over a lifetime. For this reason, many successful medical malpractice amputation claims and settlements end up in high dollar amounts.

Although some states have caps on medical malpractice damage awards, Illinois does not. Patients who can prove that they have been victims of medical malpractice can ask for any size damage they deem reasonable. However, they still need to prove why they are asking for certain amounts. This is where a knowledgeable lawyer can be helpful. A lawyer who practices in the medical malpractice arena has expertise in calculating all types of damages.

When Should a Medical Malpractice Victim Contact a Lawyer?

Due to the strict statute of limitations, a potential medical malpractice victim will want to initiate a consultation with a lawyer as soon as possible after their amputation. This gives a lawyer enough time to review the case, compile evidence, and determine the likelihood of a successful settlement or award to help the victim.

Edwardsville Med Mal Lawyers at The Cates Law Firm, LLC Fight for Amputees Who Have Suffered Due to Medical Malpractice

Acts of medical malpractice should never go unchecked. If you believe you have a medical malpractice case, talk with one of our Edwardsville med mal lawyers at The Cates Law Firm, LLC. Call us at 618-277-3644 or complete our online form for a free consultation. Located in Swansea, Illinois, we serve clients in St. Louis, Belleville, East St. Louis, Edwardsville, Granite City, Waterloo, Chester, Carbondale, St. Clair County, Madison County, Monroe County, Randolph County, and other regions throughout Southern Illinois.