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Barry D. Lang, M.D. & Associates
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Was that amputation really necessary?

In prior centuries, a severe crushing injury or spreading infection in the limbs ended in either the patient's death or with the amputation of the mangled or diseased limb. Fortunately, modern medicine has advanced to the point where an affected limb may often be salvaged by a gifted orthopedic surgeon.

With limb salvage, the surgeon's goal is to maintain and restore stability to the limb, and when it is the legs that are affected, to allow the patient to remain ambulatory.

Of course, that's not always possible in some circumstances. Even when it is, the injured limb typically requires scrupulous daily debridement and close supervision by the doctor to make sure all is well with the limb's blood flow.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to whether a limb can be salvaged or should be sacrificed to save the patient's life. The standard of care demands early coverage and close scrutiny of changing conditions. Delaying the wound coverage can lead to detrimental outcomes for patients.

It's more cost-effective to salvage a damaged limb, and in as much as 95% of sarcoma cases, it is the procedure of choice among orthopedic surgeons. But it can be touch-and-go for patients at critical junctures when doctors must weigh the options they have.

Losing a limb is both physically and psychologically traumatic. The decision to amputate should never be made rashly. Whenever possible, the patient should be included in the decision-making process, although their medical condition at the critical point may prohibit this.

Regardless, if you suspect that your amputated limb could or should have been salvaged, you have the right to pursue the matter legally. A Boston attorney who handles orthopedic malpractice cases can provide guidance and advice.

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