If you haven’t yet heard of a hemicorporectomy, then you’re not alone. One Montana man hadn’t heard of one either until a tragic 2019 workplace accident resulted in a life-saving operation to amputate the lower half of his body. While this young man survived, many crush injury victims like him aren’t so fortunate.
How did this man’s accident occur?
The then 19-year-old was operating a forklift along a bridge that he was reconstructing when a motorist tried to pass him. The young man moved right to avoid being struck by the motorist, not realizing that dirt underneath him would crumble when he attempted to do so. The forklift became unbalanced and fell 50 feet, ultimately landing atop one of his arms and crushing his pelvis and legs.
Emergency crews arrived at the scene and life-flighted him first to a local hospital, then to Seattle. Doctors ultimately performed the hemicorporectomy with the teen’s consent after telling him that it was unlikely that he’d survive without it.
What do doctors remove as part of a hemicorporectomy?
Anyone undergoing this type of amputation surgery will have any below-the-waist body parts removed, including their pelvic bones, external and internal genitalia, legs, rectum and anus.
How common are hemicorporectomies?
The authors of a 2009 Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery journal study described a hemicorporectomy as extremely rare. There had only been 66 cases ever reported in the medical literature at that time. Most individuals who undergo this surgical procedure do so after prolonged battles with terminal cancer or after severe trauma to the affected areas.
What quality of life do hemicorporectomy patients have?
Doctors must ultimately fit individuals who undergo this procedure with a prosthesis to sit upright but the amputees are forever confined to a wheelchair to get around.
Hemicorporectomy patients often suffer residual pain, especially near the amputation sites. They also run the risk of infection along their kidney or bowel lines that collect waste.
What to do if you suffered an amputation on the job
California law might allow you to recover damages if your injury resulted from malfunctioning or poorly maintained equipment or for some other preventable reason.
An attorney with experiencing loss-of-limb workplace accidents is a good choice to litigate the thousands of workplace amputations that happen on the job every year. They can help you recover compensation in your San Diego case.