Complete or partial foot amputations are typically performed as a result of injury or trauma, infection, ischemia, birth defects, disorders (such as Toxic Shock Syndrome), diabetes, or a combination. They are the most common type of amputation surgery performed.
Infected pressure sores can result in foot amputations. Pressure sores (also known as bedsores, decubitus ulcers and pressure ulcers) are preventable breakdowns of the skin. The elderly nursing home population is very susceptible to developing bedsores.
Most nursing home residents are unable to move or have restricted movement. Elderly residents that are wheelchair bound or bedridden are not able to move or reposition their bodies and therefore cannot shift the pressure beds and wheels chairs place on parts of their bodies. As a result, pressure builds on certain parts of the body like the back of the head from a pillow or the sacrum/tailbone/low back, heels, elbows, shoulder blades from a bed mattress. Extended periods of pressure reduces the blood supply to these areas of the body which kills skin cells causing the to skin breakdown. Pressure sores develop when the skin breaks down.
Once the skin breaks down the pressure ulcer wound can get infected with sepsis (blood infection), gangrene, osteomyelitis (bone infection), joint infection, MRSA (bacterial infection) or necrotizing fasciitis (flesh-eating disease). In extreme cases where the infection is deep an amputation might be required to prevent the infection from spreading from the bedsore to the rest of the body.
Partial Foot Amputations
Partial foot amputations affect a portion of the foot, but do not include any amputation disarticulating the ankle joint. Most involve the toes and/or disarticulate the metatarsophalangeal joint. Those who undergo this type of amputations can expect complications, as the amputation has a significant failure rate, especially for those who have diabetes, because minor trauma can progress to skin breakdown and infection. Many can expect having to undergo subsequent amputation surgery. However, when successful, partial foot amputations do offer some advantages, such as the ability to continue to bear weight on the residual foot and preservation of greater independence.
The most common traumas associated with partial foot amputations are those caused by moving machinery, such as lawn mowers or auto accidents. Other potential causes include crush injuries, degloving injuries (where a section of the skin is torn off the underlying tissue, cutting off its blood supply), or lacerations. Frostbite and burns, although less common, can also sometimes lead to partial foot amputations.
During any foot amputation, great care must be taken to minimize any trauma to the skin. Surgeons try to avoid anatomical dissection with separation of tissue layers in order to preserve circulation and tissue viability. It is also important that all diseased tissue is removed prior to final skin closure and the proper method and timing by which to close the wound is chosen, depending upon the specific circumstances involved. For example, when there is serious infection and ischemia, packing the wound open usually leads to fewer complications.
When a midfoot or transmetatarsal amputation is performed, preservation of muscle function is extremely important, as failing to do so can result in deformity. In addition, painful and disabling stump neuromas are common following amputations, and should be sharply incised at a proximal level in order to protect them from potential external forces, such as a prosthesis or shoe.
Many who need to undergo foot or partial foot amputation also benefit from participating in counseling as well in order to properly address any pre- or post-operative trauma.
What Can You Do if You Have An Amputation Due to Nursing Home Bedsores?
Sometimes a nursing home is liable for your loved one’s injuries and their resulting complications, including death. When a nursing home neglects patient needs, including their medical needs related to bedsores, they may have committed a type of medical malpractice for which you can seek compensation.
Massachusetts Nursing Home Neglect Attorneys
If you believe your loved one has suffered a foot or other amputation due to complications related to bedsores or other forms of nursing home neglect, contact our experienced nursing home neglect lawyers today for a free consultation.
We offer a free, no-obligation legal consultation to help you understand your rights and the value of your case. Our personal injury law firm takes cases involving elder abuse and neglect. We offer legal service to clients in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire.
Massachusetts Bedsores Resulting in Foot Amputations Due to Nursing Home Neglect. Free Consultation. No fee if no recovery.
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