New Technology Offers Hope for Massachusetts Amputees
John L. Keefe
This year, more than 180,000 Americans will lose a limb. Fifteen of these Americans are victims of the Boston Marathon bombings. These men and women will receive prosthetics from the Coalition to Walk and Run Again and the American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association (AOPA).
In 2000, there were few options for amputation victims. However, more than decade of war has resulted in over 1,500 military amputees. Medical device companies have found a market for high-tech prosthetic devices. These devices are lighter, stronger, more comfortable, and easier to use than earlier prosthetics. Some are equipped with microprocessors and are able to adjust for the impacts of walking, running, jumping, and even climbing.
The Boston Marathon amputees were runners. If they choose, they will receive prosthetic devices that will allow them to resume an active lifestyle.
These prosthetics are not available to everyone. A prosthetic limb can cost from $8,000 to $60,000, depending on the limb and what is needed. The costs are not covered by insurance companies, which often cap benefits at $2,500 or $5,000. This means that most amputees receive prosthetics that allow only basic use of the limb. This can make it hard to resume favorite activities or even return to work.
Prosthetic limbs typically last five to seven years before they need replacing. The coalition will cover the initial cost of the prosthetic, as well as any adjustments to the device. It will not cover replacements. The lifetime cost of an amputation can exceed $500,000.
Because of the high costs, not everyone can benefit from prosthetics. When an amputation leaves you unable to work, SSDI is an option. To learn more about Social Security benefits for amputees, contact the Boston disability attorneys at Keefe Disability Law at 888-904-6847.
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