Emergency care for amputation of a body part such as a finger, toe, hand, foot, etc.
1. The main thing you want to do if you have any part of your body amputated is try and control the bleeding. This most likely will require immediate direct pressure on the wound and possibly depending on the appendage, application of some type of tourniquet may be required. However use of a tourniquet should only be applied when the bleeding cannot be managed any other way. In many cases tourniquets can cause more damage but with some traumatic amputation injuries it may be necessary to apply a tourniquet in order to make sure the patient doesn’t bleed to death.
2. Elevation of the wound area such as an arm higher than the heart is required if the fingers have been amputated from the hand.
3. While someone is holding pressure on the injured area, rinse off the severed limb such as the fingers, toes, foot or hand and get a clean well moistened cloth or gauze in which to wrap the body parts in.
4. After wrapping the appendages in wet gauze or other material place the appendages into a plastic bag. The plastic bag can be anything in which will protect the wet body part from any contaminates while in transit to a medical facility.
5. If possible place the appendages into a cooler filled with ice cold water, do not however place the appendages directly onto the ice. Placing the amputated body parts on ice will only harm the tissues and nerve endings further possibly hindering reattachment of the limb.
6. After securing the severed limb or appendages transport the injured person and their body parts immediately to a emergency medical facility. Make sure the body parts are transported if at all possible with the patient so as to not delay the reattachment process. Reattaching any appendages or limbs is a process where time is of the essence. Unfortunately I have had transported amputee victims have to wait for their limbs to arrive before going to surgery.
In the majority of traumatic amputation injuries, the reattachment process can be highly successful. A lot depends on the severity of the amputation and whether the body parts have been properly cared for while in transport. Time is also a factor but reattachment surgery has come a long way in recent years and now most medical facilities have a good success rate on reattaching severed limbs.
References for this article include: emedicine.medscape.com/article/827648-overview