My partner wants his leg amputated. Will doctors listen?

My partner shattered his knee in a skateboarding accident when he was 14. He had the knee completely 're-built' and had to learn to walk again.

He's had a lot of problems with it since he was 23 (he's now 30) he now struggles to walk, has muscle wastage in his right leg (supposedly the 'good leg') and the doctors just don't seem to be doing anything apart from endlessly giving him medication that doesn't take the pain away, only makes him high!

He as talking about wanting the leg that is causing him so much pain amputated, but doesn't know if the doctor would take him seriously. His pain as been so bad he's contemplated suicide a few times.

What can we do to get the doctors to listen and begin to consider an amputation before something awful happens?

24 Replies

  • he must be at the end of his tether, poor man what have the Drs said about this?

  • He's been to 3 GP practices and two have said there is nothing wrong with him, that all he can do is take medication (which just doesn't work) we've got so many different pills we could probably start our own pharmacy!

    we're waiting on what the third practice will say, as hes only just switched to them

  • It never ends, Samaritans is good place for him, you or both and it's good to get things off chest.

    116123 freephone

    Best of British.

  • Make sure the GP and Specialist know about him trying to end his life more than once because of the pain. Make it clear that he can't tolerate the pain any longer and if they are not prepared to try anything else to help him then amputation is the only thing left. Poor guy chronic pain is hell to deal with and when it's 24/7 it's exhausting. Tell him to ask for any scans/X-rays, pain injections and specialist referrals. Just make people listen and take him seriously. X

  • He's recently switched to the same GP practice as me, as we're waiting to hear what they will do to help. The two previous practices he's been with have been useless, they've practically laughed him out of the practice, saying its 'all in his head' and just fobbed him off with all sorts of medication. Whenever he's asked for scans ets they've just ignored his requests. it's madness!

  • Constant pain is insanity making, and feeling that no one is taking your pain seriously pushes us further into a pit. I am sorry to hear he is at the end of his tether.

    Have you researched amputation for resolving pain. It's not a guaranteed cure. Although logic tells us it should be. Our bodies don't always tow the line.

    Throwing a handful of luck his way. Hoping he finds someone to listen.

  • Thank you, i'll mention to him about researching things and see if he still feels the same.

  • For most chronic pain people amputation of that painful area is medically impossible. Equally as many have thought about suicide on their worse ays.

    Has your boyfriend been referred to the pain clinic? They have medically trained nurses ( and anesthetist consultant expert on drugs for pain) who deal with all aspects of pain. They call the whole package pain management and you learn just to manage your pain. Not just with pain meds either. - alternative therapy as in acupuncture, physio, psychologist and possible hydrotherapy..If he is getting a 'high' I would suggest he is taking the wrong meds or too strong and they are not for him.

    Those who take these very strong prescription meds rarely have these highs as the morphine in them works with the pain..

    I can understand why Doctors would be reluctant to amputate. He is likely to be confined to a wheelchair and that brings it own difficulties.

    If he hasn't been to pain clinic then I strongly advise him to ask for referral.


  • He has been referred to a pain clinic by his last doctors (after a lot of nagging at them and threatening them with a higher power of medical profession) they gave in. Only for the pain clinic to NEVER see my partner, because all we received was letters saying that every person he was told he had to see (usually the physio) was ill at some point. So in the end they discharged him - we never found out why.

    He's recently switched to my GP practice, so hopefully a different practice will come up with some answers.

  • Get an MRI scan of the back. Muscle wastage in good leg suggests possible loss of nerve input. Could be other reasons.

    amputation may cause just as much pain due to phantom leg syndrone.

    Phantom limb syndrome: The perception of sensations, often including pain, in an arm or leg long after the limb has been amputated. Phantom limb syndrome is relatively common in amputees, especially in the early months and years after limb loss.

    Worth seeing a McTimony chiropractor and Alexander Technique teacher. These work on the physical by manipulation in the areas that need it. Medication does not correct faulty muscle movement, faulty posture or muscle micro cramps. It cannot reduce pressure on nerves if muscle is causing pressure to be applied to nerves.

    Hope this helps.

  • I'll have to research if there is one in my area. - Thank you

  • Hi LuLu and JohnSmith, LuLu JS has given you spot on answers. When it comes down to amputation there are psychiatric merits but it has to be discussed by the Psychiatric Multi Disciplinary Team. A psychiatrist will have to counsel him for quite a few sessions to actually find out what and why his thoughts are on amputation. I know of 2 cases that amputation on a so called sound leg have been carried out in the UK.

    By the sounds of it LuLu your partner might not be getting the correct blood titration of medication to make him not get too much pain and to certainly not make him high. It does happen on occasions but when his medication is triggered at the source of the pain he would not get high nor would it change his perceptions surrounding life as he is at this moment in time. I also see a nihilistic element to his depression, which could be better treated by different medication. Take Care and best regards Oldman1954

  • This sounds so awful for him and for you to watch him go through. He needs definite medical intervention to assess it carefully and to see where the pain in the other leg is coming from. I mean having a leg amputated is really drastic and shows how much pain he must be in. I am so sorry you are both going through this. Severe pain does cause depression and suicidal thoughts especially if nobody is taking his pain seriously. I think if you have exhausted all avenues it's time to take things further and as high as you can go until someone listens and assesses if anything can be done and his leg saved or if amputation is right. Make a formal complaint and follow the correct complaints procedure, to the top until its resolved. Seek legal advice if you have to. Def push for an MRI scan as suggested. Apart from that the only other option is looking at going private but then it's affording it I know! Good luck x

  • Thank you Katiekatie, he has recently signed up to the same GP as me, and in a 5 minute appointment the doctor did more than any other doctor has in 5 years! He's been referred to physic to see if that helps (a doctor at his old practice said he'd refer him, but never did!) SO at least it's finally something that's being done.

  • Oh that's great news. Hope he gets some answers now and gets proper investigations done. Sometimes it's more about saving money that helping the patient with these Gp surgeries x

  • The last two GP surgeries he's been with just said 'we don't know what the problem is' but always gave him medication! It made no sense really.

    But hopefully, the new GP will listen and sort things out x

  • Hi lulu18 u need to get the new gp to refer him to a pain specialist they can help him get the right meds to help with the pain l suffer with crps ( complex regional pain syndrome) had it for 7 years now into which I had my left arm amputated I still have the pain in my stump and I can still feel that I have my hand a lot off amputate feel the same that's if it's the arm or the leg, if your new gp refers him to a specialist your partner needs to go through everything why he wants the amputation and how he feel inside is mind. I had a car accident in 2013 I broke both my ankles I ended in that my right ankle got crps because the crps was that bad I had that ankle amputated so I'm in a wheelchair for the rest off my life and last year things got that bad I tried to take my own life I spent about 4 weeks in a coma. I think what I'm trying to say is your partner needs to be 100% sure in is mind that's the best thing for him.get him to took to people that have there leg or arm amputated

    Hope he gets the right help and sure port that he needs

  • We had the new gp refer my partner to physio yesterday, he's said he has to do the exercises that will be given to him for the rest of his life, but it may be a step in the right direction, as the new doctor did more in a 5 minute appointment than any of my partners previous GPs have done in 5 years and a half years!

  • Sadly even when a limb is amputated it can still cause a lot of pain. It's called phantom limb syndrome and it occurs because the neural ( nerve ) pathways from the leg to the brain still send messages. The memory of the pain is retained and the brain interprets the messages as if the pain still existed . I believe it is a common occurrence with amputations.

    Of course he should discuss it with his doctor who will give him all the information he needs.


  • The retention of the memory of pain doesn't only happen with amputations. After a car accident when I was 18 I suffered disc prolapses in my lower spine and bruising to the spinal cord in my neck. I am now 63 and although an MRI proves that the discs and the bruising healed decades ago, I have had the pain of the injuries every day for the past 45 years. They call it Chronic Benign Pain. My nervous system doesn't recognise that the injuries have healed and still generates the pain that they caused.

  • Oh yes tabbycat. I know that only too well with my own back pain which may or may not be remembered or present pain. I am trying to re-educate my neural pathways but it's hit or miss.

    I feel for you having that pain for so long.


  • I have that too, hurts like a bastard!

  • Please consider other alternatives first .!!! Where are you located

  • Don't have the leg cut off please, it can just make things a lot worse actually. You can still get pain from a limb you no longer have. Where do you live if your near me, I'll send you my physical therapist details.

    Also ask to be referred to the RNOH to the pain clinic & for the pain management program. Which what I'm doing exactly right now as I type this (evenings off) please give that ago first. I have a lot of problems with pain, something I know about I'm just coming back brink of an Alchol & drug problem thankfully got this under control before I did some major harm.

    If you partner wants to chat to, just send me a message we can chat in private if that helps. Thos can be sorted, you just need the correct help, from the right people. Your partner can be helped, trust me when I say this.

    Don't worry, all will be good.

You may also like...