Accidental Amputation

Medically Reviewed by Sabrina Felson, MD on January 16, 2020

Call 911

1. Stop the Bleeding

  • Wash your hands with soap and water, if possible.
  • Have the injured person lie down, if possible, and elevate the injured area.
  • Don’t reposition the person if you suspect a head, neck, back, or leg injury.
  • Apply steady, direct pressure to the wound. If there’s an object in the wound, apply pressure around it, not directly over it.
  • If blood soaks through, apply another covering over the first one. Don’t take the first one off.
  • Use a tourniquet or compression bandage only if bleeding is severe and not stopped with direct pressure.

2. Check for and Treat Shock

  • With the person still lying flat, raise the feet about 12 inches.
  • Don’t reposition the person if you suspect a head, neck, back, or leg injury.

  • Cover with coat or blanket.
  • Calm the person as much as possible until medical help arrives.

3. Clean and Protect Wound

  • Wrap or cover the injured area with sterile dressing or clean cloth.

4. Save Amputated Part

In some cases, the amputated part can be reattached.

  • If possible, rinse with clean water to remove dirt or debris. Do not use soap or scrub.
  • Place in a clean, plastic bag.
  • Pack the bag in ice. Take it with you to the hospital.
WebMD Medical Reference



American Medical Association, Handbook of First Aid and Emergency Care, Random House, 2009. National Institutes of Medicine. 

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