Free Prosthetics Offered To Boston Bombing Amputees

Amputee
The American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association announced on Tuesday it will be offering free prosthetic limbs to Boston Marathon bombing victims. Creative Commons

For victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, the residual effects of the tragedy are far from over and for some it will follow them for the rest of their lives. The trajectory of the explosion meant some unsuspecting bystanders lost their lower extremities among other horrific wounds.

Kendra Calhoun, president of the Amputee Coalition, said, "The world becomes a very different place when you lose a limb, but the beautiful thing is that prosthetic devices can help people regain an amazing amount of function-and there should be no reason why every American amputee shouldn't be fully functional, except that health insurance isn't willing to pay for it."

In an unprecedented act of kindness, The American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association (AOPA) announced on Tuesday that it will be offering free prosthetic limbs to the estimated 20 to 25 bombing amputee victims, some of whom lost both legs.

Under the name "Coalition to Walk and Run Again," makers of artificial limbs have teamed up with the AOPA to safeguard uninsured or under-insured victims against the astronomical medical bills they are sure to deal with.

Executive Director of the AOPA Tom Fise estimates around half of the people who lost a limb in the blast are not covered under medical insurance and could be subject to extensive hospital bills for years to come.

"We want to ensure that, in the midst of this horrific tragedy, these individuals are not further traumatized by the harsh and unreasonable limits that are present in all too many health insurance policies today in the United States," Fise told reporters.

Prosthetic replacements below-the-knee can cost between $8,000 and $12,000 and above-the-knee prosthetics between $40,000 and $60,000. That projection doesn't even take into account medical bills accrued for the actual loss of the leg, Reuters reported.

"As the certified prosthetists and orthotists who practice in patient care facilities and the orthotic and prosthetic manufacturers who develop the technology and create the components for artificial limbs and customized bracing that restore mobility, we are in a unique position to offer needed assistance," said AOPA Vice President Charles Dankmeyer.

"We want to do whatever we can to help these fellow Americans as they start this challenging journey."

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