Many people experience at least one traumatic event in their lifetime. Some people suddenly lose a loved one, suffer at the hands of another person or suffer serious injuries in an accident. The loss of a limb is one of those traumas that will affect a person for the rest of their life.
Either the limb was severed in an accident and could not be reattached, or the the extent of injury to the limb was so severe that it had to be surgically amputated later. It is such a profound loss because of tangible physical absence, and because of the psychological and social aftermath of losing part of your body.
Stages of grief
The loss of a limb can affect the victim the in a similar way to a death or other major loss. A person who loses a hand, an arm or a foot may experiencing the five common stages of grief. The first stage is denial, the shock and disbelief that it happened and that it is permanent. It is common to continue through the classic stages of grief:
- Anger: The victim may feel angry toward the person who caused the accident, others who contributed to the circumstances, or toward doctors for not being able to save or reattach the limb.
- Bargaining: The person may come up with bargains in their mind like how they will change their life for the better or how they will donate more to charity if only they could just wake up and this all have been a nightmare.
- Depression: The victim may sink into depression after dwelling on all the ways their life will be different and some of the experiences they may miss. Depression is a serious but common effect of major trauma and loss.
- Acceptance: It may take a long time to reach this point, but hopefully, the person will come to a place where they can accept their situation and how it has changed their life. After rehabilitative measures, the amputee may feel more ready to accept the loss and move forward.
Of course, the manner of coping with amputation will be unique to each individual and their feelings. Still, they will likely need to undergo medical treatment and therapies to fully address the severe injury and loss. Because much of what was experienced in the aftermath of the accident and likely in the future can be costly, a person who has suffered a loss of limb should to look into their legal options for seeking compensation from the driver considered at fault for the injury-causing accident.