Written by Devon Boen
In the wake of a tragedy, things can quickly turn political. I wanted to focus this column on what matters the most, but generally gets pushed aside. I wanted to focus on the victims, particularly those who lost their limbs in the Boston bombings last week.
We all saw the gruesome photos. Many of us weren’t used to seeing such a brutal event captured on film. The media has been heavily controlled in that aspect for a long time. But, thanks to the advent of social media, the event was seen around the world — for better or worse.
One of the worst photos was taken of Jeff Bauman Jr., a 27-year-old man who was there to watch his girlfriend finish the race. Both his legs were blown off. He can be seen being wheeled away, pale and dazed and covered in blood.
He might be the focal point of the most iconic photograph to come out of the tragedy, but dozens of others lost limbs.
I started thinking about how just like any other attack, the general public tends to turn it into a concept or a political meaning and the victims get pushed into the shadows and forgotten. Not by all, but by many.
I wanted to shed a little light on the process of becoming an amputee and its related difficulties and staggering costs.
The amputees will have to allow several weeks or longer for their injuries to heal before they can be fitted for a prosthesis. The fitting is extremely important. It can help prevent issues during rehabilitation. One would think simply losing a leg or an arm would be their biggest stress during such a horrible time in their life, but that isn’t always the case.
Prosthetic limbs are extremely expensive. They can range from a very basic design that runs several thousand, up to $100,000. The problem is, most insurance companies only pay for one very basic prosthetic limb, according to a New York Times article, War and Sports Shape Artificial Limbs. Most amputees require several prosthetic limbs over a lifetime since most last three to four years.
The article also explains that those who lose limbs in accidents or attacks like Boston have a much harder time than amputees in the military. It said the military often covers a wide range of prosthetics and physical therapy for amputees.
That type of help is what all amputees need. A person should be worried about learning to walk again or how to use a fake arm rather than whether or not they’ll receive the health treatment they actually need. And if you’re asking whether the steep-priced limbs are worth it — the answer is a resounding “yes.”
More advanced limbs can allow an amputee to run, hike, and go up and down stairs without having to physically drag their leg — among other things.
Increased mobility and the ability to complete physical challenges helps amputees recover emotionally. The mental wounds aren’t just a physical task that can be mastered over several months.
Losing a limb is one of the most traumatic things that can happen to a person, both mentally and physically.
If you’re interested in helping one of the Boston amputee victims, consider donating to a reputable charity or simply writing a letter of support.