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Emergency Care for an Accidental Amputation - Topic Overview

Care for the completely amputated body part

  • Recover the amputated body part, if possible, and transport it to the hospital with the injured person. If the part can't be found right away, transport the injured person to the hospital and bring the amputated part to the hospital when it is found.
  • Gently rinse off dirt and debris with clean water, if possible. Do not scrub.
  • Wrap the amputated part in a dry, sterile gauze or clean cloth.
  • Put the wrapped part in a plastic bag or waterproof container.
  • Place the plastic bag or waterproof container on ice. The goal is to keep the amputated part cool but not to cause more damage from the cold ice. Do not cover the part with ice or put it directly into ice water.

Care for the part of the body where the amputation happened

  • Stop the bleeding.
  • Elevate the injured area.
  • Wrap or cover the injured area with a sterile dressing or clean cloth until medical treatment is received.

Care for a partially amputated body part

  • Elevate the injured area.
  • Wrap or cover the injured area with a sterile dressing or clean cloth. Apply pressure if the injured area is bleeding. This will slow the bleeding until the person receives medical care. You don't want to cut off the blood flow to the partially amputated part, so pressure needs to be light-just enough to slow blood loss.
  • Gently splint the injured area to prevent movement or further damage.

This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 09, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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