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How to Apply First Aid for Accidental Amputation?


The removal of a body part is known as amputation. A doctor can perform this procedure in a hospital setting, such as when a foot must be amputated due to diabetes-related complications. However, amputation can also happen because of an unexpected accident. Amputation can be either complete (the body part gets completely cut off) or partial (the body part is only partially cut off). Amputated portions can sometimes be successfully reattached. The reattachment’s success is determined by:

  • What part of your body was amputated?
  • The condition of the severed limb.
  • The time between the amputation and receiving medical attention.
  • The wounded person’s overall health.

By taking First Aid and CPR training from American HealthCare Academy, you will always be prepared to handle severe situations like an accidental amputation. It’s a life-threatening scenario and can have serious repercussions on the victim and the people around him.

image for amputation first aid

Diabetes and Amputation: What to know? 

Diabetes is a leading cause behind amputation of the lower limb. According to the American Diabetes Association, every 30 seconds, someone loses a limb due to diabetes-related complications. According to the National Diabetes Statistics Report In 2014, 108,000 persons experienced lower limb amputations due to diabetes. This translates to five persons in every 1,000 who have diabetes. According to a 2012 study, foot ulcers affect 4-10% of patients with diabetes. When foot ulcers do form, most people have a favorable prognosis:

  • Foot ulcers are cured in 60-80% of cases.
  • 10-15% are still active.
  • Within 6-18 months of the first evaluation, 5-24% of cases result in limb amputation.

Diabetes patients should take extra special care of their feet. This is due to an increased chance of wounds not healing, which might result in amputation. Some of the indications and symptoms that a person should be aware of and report to their doctor include:

  • foot swelling
  • blisters
  • ingrown toenails
  • Athlete’s foot, plantar warts, open sores
  • an ulcer that stays more than 7 days
  • pain, active bleeding, skin discoloration
  • warmth in one part of the foot
  • deep lesion where the bone is visible
  • a foul odor emanating from a wound ulcer larger than three-quarters of an inch
  • a sore that does not heal rapidly

Diabetes patients are at a higher risk of needing lower limb amputation. The most common reason for amputation is a wound or ulcer that does not heal. High blood sugar levels and smoking might increase the risk of foot-related complications, which can need an amputation. While treating a diabetic patient the first aid course will also help you to know what are the 4 silent signs of a heart attack.

How to preserve an amputated body part?

1. Caring for the completely severed body part

  • If possible, recover the amputated body part and transfer it to the hospital with the injured individual. If the portion cannot be found or identified immediately, transfer the injured person to the hospital and bring the amputated part to the hospital once it is found.
  • Gently rinse away dirt and debris with clean water, if possible. Do not scrub.
  • Wrap the amputated limb with sterile gauze or a clean towel.
  • Place the wrapped item in a waterproof container or a plastic bag or other.
  • Put the plastic bag or waterproof container on ice. It is done to keep the severed area cool while avoiding further damage from direct exposure to ice.

2. Caring for the area of the body where the amputation occurred

  • Stop the blood flow.
  • Elevate the affected region.
  • Wrap the wounded area in a sterile bandage or a clean cloth until medical attention arrives.

3. Caring for a bodily part that has been partially severed

  • Elevate the affected region.
  • Wrap or cover the wounded area with a clean cloth or sterile dressing.
  • If the wounded region is bleeding, apply pressure. This will help to stop the bleeding until the person obtains medical attention. Keep the pressure low enough to reduce blood loss.
  • Splint the damaged area gently to prevent movement or further harm.

What are the emergency measures for accidental amputation?

Following are the emergency measures to manage an accidental amputation. First aid steps are also listed below.

1. Call 911

2. Stop the blood flow

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water – if available.
  • If possible, make the wounded individual lie down and elevate the wounded area.
  • If you suspect a head, neck, back, or leg injury, do not relocate the victim.
  • Firm, direct pressure should be applied to the wound. If an object is piercing the wound, apply pressure around it rather than directly over it.
  • If blood seeps through the initial covering, place another one over it. Don’t remove the first one.
  • If bleeding is significant and can’t be stopped with direct pressure, use a tourniquet or compression bandage.

3. Check for shock and treat it.

The trauma of the accident or severe loss of blood can cause the victim to go into a physiologic shock. Signs of physiologic shock include:

  • Passing out (losing consciousness).
  • Feeling dizzy or light-headed, like the person may pass out.
  • Feeling weak or having trouble standing up.
  • Being less alert. The person may suddenly be unable to respond to questions, or they may be confused, restless, or fearful.

4. Emotional stress from the accident may cause the victim to faint or feel light-headed.

This is sometimes called “emotional shock.” It may be confused with physiologic shock. The first aid course from AHCA will help you understand and respond effectively in this scenario.


Take up American HealthCare Academy’s CPR and First Aid certification combo course to deal with such situations with utmost confidence. When a body part is partially or completely amputated, immediate first assistance is essential to provide the greatest possibility of repair. Tissue can be kept for up to 18 hours if properly cared for. Reattachment has the best chance of success if performed within 4 to 6 hours of amputation.  It can be done up to 24 hours after the amputation.