Officials from the American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association has vowed to help victims of the Boston Marathon terror attack who have undergone amputations but do not have the means to pay for prosthetics.
The association today announced the Coalition to Walk and Run Again, which has gotten commitments from practitioners within its national network to ensure the bombing amputees will not have to pay for their first artificial limb.
"We are pledging to provide their first prosthesis," said Charles Dankmeyer, president of AOPA. "We feel totally confident we'll be able to do that."
Coalition members said they expect about a dozen of the amputees will need help paying for their first artificial limb due to severe limits in health insurance coverage. As many as 25 bombing victims had to have amputations, all of their lower limbs, officials said.
"We’re not only fitting the anatomy, we’re fitting the psyche of patient and their family," said Greig Martino, a certified prosthetist who is working with the bombing victims. “I have been contacted by all of the major component manufacturers that are all willing to donate to these victims and help in any way that they can. We have the skill and ability to handle these patients, to afford them the componentry that they do need and to see that these patients are returned back to what they would consider normal daily activities.”
The care and cost of an initial prosthetic device could cost anywhere between $8,000 and $60,000, according to Martino.
More stats from the AOPA:
Artificial limbs often need to be replaced every five to seven years.
There are about 1.9 million people living with limb loss in the United States.
The annual immediate health care costs for the amputation of a limb, not including rehabilitation, totals about $8.3 billion.
About 500 people undergo amputations in the U.S. each day.