On the brighter side, modern medicine has made it possible for severed limbs and digits to be reattached successfully; depending on how well it was preserved post-amputation.
So how do you preserve an amputated limb/finger properly:
- Moisten a sterile gauze with sterile saline.
- Wrap the limb in the gauze and place in a plastic bag.
- Place the bag on ice.
- Transport the patient to the nearest emergency department.
If you follow all these steps, the amputated part can remain viable for up to 24 hours.
Now what should you avoid doing?
You MUST NOT:
- Allow the limb to freeze.
- Immerse the limb in water as this may make digital vessel repair more difficult.
- Place the limb in antiseptic solution or alcohol as chemical injury may occur. The patient will be appropriately treated with antibiotics and the amputated part irrigated before reimplantation is attempted.
- Do not place the amputated part directly on ice as frost-bite injury may occur with loss of viability.
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