Amputations occur in a wide variety of ways, often as a result of accidents or the careless or negligent actions of others. Unfortunately, an amputation is considered a catastrophic injury that can significantly affect a person’s life. Here, we want to discuss the long-term costs, both in dollar terms and emotional and psychological terms, of an amputation injury.
The reality is that the overall medical costs of an amputation will depend heavily on the severity of the injury and the type of amputation. Obviously, the amputation of fingers and toes will cost much less than the amputation of an entire arm or leg. As with any other injury, there are various factors that will have to be examined when estimating total medical costs for amputations.
When we look at overall medical costs, we want to examine a few factors. First, the initial emergency medical expenses related to the amputation incident will likely be expensive because emergency room care is incredibly costly. Sometimes, a single stay in the emergency room, even for one day, can reach into the tens of thousands of dollars. If a person is admitted to the hospital for continued care, which is likely if an amputation occurs, this will lead to much higher costs.
In many cases, individuals will choose to get a prosthetic limb to replace an amputated limb. Prosthetics are medical devices, and they are costly. For individuals without health insurance, a prosthetic leg can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $70,000, depending on how advanced the artificial leg is. However, the overall costs will vary depending on where the amputation occurred. For amputations that occurred below the knee, a person would pay less money for a prosthetic.
Similarly, prosthetic arms will see similar costs, and will again depend on where the amputation actually occurs. Prosthetics for amputations below the elbow will be less costly than prosthetics for an entire arm.
In some cases, a prosthetic limb may not be the best route. For elderly individuals, the best option to take for an amputation may be to use devices such as assisted walkers and wheelchairs. These devices also cost money, but the overall costs will range depending on the sophistication of the device. Any person who sustains an amputation injury will need to work with their medical doctor and physical therapists to determine the best route for them when it comes to mobility.
One of the most significant costs associated with amputation revolves around the emotional and psychological needs of the patient. Individuals who lose a limb often have to rearrange their entire lives due to the injury. An amputation can affect a person’s ability to go to work, earn an income, play with their children or grandchildren, or even just walk to the mailbox and back.
When working to determine the overall costs of an amputation injury, it is important to examine how the injury affects a person personally. If a person’s overall quality of life is lowered as a result of the amputation, which is often the case, they should be compensated. This would be considered a non-economic loss, but just as equally important as economic losses.
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