Nearly two million people in the United States are currently living with the loss of a limb.
Vascular diseases, such as diabetes and peripheral arterial disease, are the primary causes (54%) of limb loss. However, trauma is the next most common cause of limb loss at 45%, with the remaining one percent of limb loss being caused by cancer.
As if the physical and psychological aspects associated with amputation were not severe enough, amputees are forced to deal with other serious obstacles as well. The financial aspects of an amputation are often staggering; amputees may be unable to continue in their current line of work, and they may even have to make changes to their homes to accommodate the loss of a limb.
How Much Does an Amputation Cost?
A study done by the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy estimates that the total lifetime cost of a traumatic amputation is $509,272. This amount includes the patient’s initial hospitalization costs, the cost of follow-up hospitalizations, inpatient rehabilitative services, outpatient doctor visits, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and the costs of prostheses. The above figure does not include any potential medical issue, which led to the amputation, and which brings medical costs of its own.
Many amputees who have health insurance when they first lose a limb may subsequently lose their jobs, and consequently their insurance. Others are able to hang on to their health insurance, yet the deductibles, co-payments, and payments for services not covered by health insurance can add up to crushing levels of debt. Those amputees who file for Social Security disability benefits wait, on average, two years prior to receiving those benefits.
The High Costs Associated with Prostheses
The prostheses required for amputees can add up to alarming financial costs as well. Most amputees have one prosthesis for the first year, then, due to changing physique, must be fitted with a second prosthetic device. Following being fitted for the first prosthesis, most patients can begin walking on their own after two to four weeks of physical therapy. The price of a new prosthetic leg can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000, yet even the top-of-the-line prosthetic limb will only last three to five years. This means that, far from being a one-time cost, the amputee can count on spending thousands of dollars for a new prosthesis on a fairly regular schedule.
The Many Issues Associated with Amputation
The amputation of a limb brings physical, emotional, social, and financial challenges. While the emotional responses are different for each patient, it is common for the amputee to feel both grief and loss. Others may experience anger, depression, helplessness, and disconnection from the world around them. Many amputees feel as though they have little control over their own lives. They may feel that their lives are a constant roller coaster ride, as their emotions fluctuate between optimism about the future and pure despair. Many amputees have trouble concentrating following an amputation, and, if reading was a prior way of coping with stress, they may lose this form of solace as well.
Contact Our Experienced Personal Injury Lawyers
If you or someone you love has lost a limb in an accident, the experienced Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers at McLaughlin & Lauricella, P.C., can help. Our team of lawyers consists of some of the best attorneys in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and we will fight aggressively for you throughout the legal process.
The personal injury attorneys at McLaughlin & Lauricella, P.C., have more than 68 years of experience representing injured accident victims and their families across Philadelphia, Berks, Bucks, Dauphin, Delaware, Lackawanna, Lehigh, Luzerne, Montgomery, and Northampton counties. We are also proud to serve injured accident victims throughout the State of New Jersey. Contact us today at 215-568-1510 or fill out our confidential contact form to learn more about your legal options.