Dismemberment Versus Amputation Injuries

A dismemberment injury is almost the same as an amputation injury; click here to learn about amputation injuries.

I suggest that there's a difference between an amputation and a dismemberment injury. Dismemberment injury or loss of a body part is probably the nastiest, ugliest, most dreadful injury that can be suffered in an accident.

I understand an amputation to involve a surgical procedure, usually to remove an irreparably damaged limb. I see dismemberment as a traumatic-type amputation from an accident, where, in some cases, surgeons try to re-attach the dismembered body part. I don't think this distinction is critical for this article, or even that many attorneys would agree with my definitions, but this is my point of view on dismemberment injury versus amputation.

Historically, dismemberment was form of capital punishment. Criminals might be "drawn and quartered" by having each arm and leg tied to a horse, and sending each of the four horses in a different direction. Prisoners might be tortured on the "rack," which spread arms and legs until they separated from the body. In modern times, dismemberment can occur as a result of a serious accident, or might be practiced by murderers, most recently and infamously by serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, who was also a cannibal.

Amputations are an ancient form of medical care. When soldiers were wounded in warfare, arms or legs could quickly become infected, threatening gangrene which could spread and cause fatal blood poisoning. In the absence of medical techniques and knowledge to clean and disinfect open wounds, ancient surgeons would have no choice but to remover the limbs of the wounded. For example, in the American Civil War, more than 50,000 soldiers underwent life saving amputations.

In modern times, with current technologies of wound care, when amputation does occur, it is usually related to workplace accidents; serious car, truck or motorcycle accidents; or medical mistakes that require surgery and the amputation of a damaged limb or extremity.

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