Prehospital limb amputation is an uncommonly performed procedure whereby amputation of an entrapped limb is required to facilitate the safe extrication of a patient in a life-threatening situation.
Note: Given the clinical and psychological implications of the procedure, where possible, consultation with receiving hospital emergency and trauma specialists is highly recommended prior to any prehospital limb amputation.
In all of the following scenarios, the patient has an entrapped extremity:
- Life before limb: Their clinical condition is life threatening and deteriorating and they will almost certainly die if not extricated rapidly.
- Environmental danger: There is a real risk to the patient’s life from further structural collapse or scene safety emergency.
- Non-survivable limb: A completely mutilated non-survivable limb retaining minimal attachment, which is delaying extrication in a non-immediate life threatening situation.
- Scene access: The patient is dead and their limbs are blocking access to potentially live casualties.
- Limb extraction unlikely to be successful: The patient is haemodynamically normal and after an exhaustive multi-disciplinary review of alternative options, amputation provides the only viable means to extricate the patient.
Immediate risk to rescuer making the procedure too dangerous to complete
Join us at The Procedures Course in Melbourne to practice this and other life and limb saving procedures.
Further Reading »
Macintyre A et al (2012). Extreme Measures: Field Amputation on the Living and Dismemberment of the Deceased to Extricate Individuals Entrapped in Collapsed Structures. Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp. 428-435