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First Aid for Amputations

An amputation is the total separation of a part of the body during an accident.

It is possible to sew the part back on and many people gain near normal movement and sensation. However, the right steps must be taken immediately following the accident to ensure successful surgery.

Stop Bleeding

  • Scrub hands thoroughly with soap and disinfected water.
  • Put on latex gloves to prevent the spread of infectious disease.
  • Put direct pressure onto the wound. In the case of fingers and toes, the bleeding won't be immediately life threatening. However, when hands, feet or limbs are amputated there will be more serious bleeding.
  • Elevate the remaining part of the limb.
  • Put a sterile bandage on the wound.
  • If blood seeps through the bandage, do not remove it. Simply put another bandage over the first bandage. Do this as often as is necessary.

Treat Shock

  • As with most accidents, medical shock will be present. If the bleeding is severe, the effects of shock can threaten a casualty's life.
  • Lie the casualty down with legs raised 30-60cm above the ground.
  • Put a blanket over the casualty, because he will be cold. Be careful not to over-warm the casualty.

Preserve the Amputated Part

  • Put the amputated part into a plastic bag and seal it.
  • Pad the bag with a towel (or something similar).
  • Place the padded bag into a container with ice.
  • Do not place the amputated part in direct contact with the ice. If ice isn't available, rather use frozen vegetables.
  • Send the container to the hospital with the casualty.

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