Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Donna M. Nickitas

Committee Members

Steven L. Baumann

Harriet Goodman

Keville Frederickson

Francis LaFauci

Subject Categories



Limb Loss, Haiti, Earthquake, Traumatic Amputation, Nursing, Phenomenology, Amedeo Giorgi


Amputation of a limb is a traumatic and disabling condition that impacts the lives of people worldwide. Trauma remains the leading cause of major limb amputation, second only to Diabetes Mellitus and dysvascular complications (Ziegler-Graham, MacKenzie, Ephraim, Travison, & Bookmeyer, 2008). Little is known about the experience of traumatic amputation for Haitian Adults, therefore this study was to understand the lived experience of traumatic amputation in Haiti. The purpose of this descriptive phenomenological study was to investigate the lived experience of traumatic amputations as talked about by adults who suffered an amputation because of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Eight Haitian adult women between the ages of 19-48 participated, by means of in-depth interviews describing the meaning of traumatic amputation within the context of the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Amedeo Giorgi’s (2010) four-step descriptive phenomenological method was applied to interpret and reflect on the findings of the study. Giorgi’s phenomenological method was appropriate for this study as it provided access to the lived experiences as described by individuals who lived a traumatic amputation as a consequence of the earthquake. The findings of the study revealed traumatic amputation uncovered four interconnected essential themes-ordeals of physical and emotional instability, marginalized to the fringes of society, pulled to security and safety by family and friends and deprived of norms and possessing hope- that illuminated the experience. The Roy Adaptation Model of Nursing (2009) was used as a framework to reflect upon the findings. The findings may contribute to nursing science by uncovering the meaning of the traumatic event of losing a limb.

Keywords: Limb Loss, Haiti, Earthquake, Traumatic Amputation, Nursing, Phenomenology, Amedeo Giorgi

Included in

Nursing Commons