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The Long-Term Costs of an Amputation

Posted on August 31, 2022

Individuals who must suffer an amputation caused by the reckless actions of another person face many life-changing repercussions in addition to physical pain. Their ability to work, move, and be independent is often significantly impacted. As a result, the long-term financial costs can, on average, range from $100,000 to more than $700,000. 

Emergency Medical Costs

The medical expenses related to the emergency treatment for the initial injury and then amputation will vary depending on injury severity and health insurance coverage. However, these costs are often extensive, and tens of thousands of dollars for emergency medical services, acute care, surgery, hospitalization, etc. 

Adaptive and/or Mobility Equipment Expenses

Once the wound heals from surgery, the individual may need various medical devices and home modifications. For example, prosthetics, wheelchairs, walkers, ramps, railings, and more. Unfortunately, it can take several months before being fitted with a prosthetic limb, and they are costly and not a one-time expense. A prosthetic leg, for instance, can range from $5,000 to $50,000, and a prosthetic arm is typically between $3,000 to $30,000. In addition, prosthetic limbs do not last forever and are only designed to be used for three to five years. This means it will have to be replaced numerous times throughout the person’s life. 

Long-Term Medical Care

Months and possibly years of physical therapy or rehabilitation are often required, especially if an amputee chooses a prosthetic device. They must adapt to life with a new hand, foot, arm, or leg. Rehabilitation is essential, as it will help an amputee build strength, endurance, balance, and mobility. 

Secondary Complications

An amputation is a major surgery with risks of complications, such as heart problems, blood clots, infection, pneumonia, etc. However, there are also potential long-term complications. For example: 

  • Phantom limb syndrome, which is common
  • Osteoarthritis in the non-amputated extremity
  • Overuse Syndromes – remaining extremities and proximal joints
  • Low Back Pain
  • Delayed amputation after initial limb salvage
  • Weight gain/obesity due to decreased activity levels
  • Cardiovascular disease

The need for further surgery is also a possibility, especially if there is chronic pain, such as from nerves that have thickened or if more tissue must be removed.

Pain Management

Following a traumatic amputation, a victim may require long-term pain management. For example, phantom limb pain (pain that is perceived in the part of the body that is missing) can be chronic and interfere with prosthetic use and function. 

Emotional Support

The psychological impact of an amputation can be difficult to cope with. Grief and bereavement are some of the most common emotions, similar to the death of a loved one. Counseling or therapy may be necessary, either initially or long-term, to help the individual cope with these feelings and the trauma. 

Lost Income

It is common for those who have undergone an amputation not to be able to work in the same capacity as they did before the injury. In severe cases, some are not able to work at all. Any person who loses a limb and suffers job-related consequences must face financial stress in addition to physical pain. As a result, their quality of life can suffer, compacted by the mental toll and the pressure it places on their family. Depending on the age of the amputee, the potential for lost income could reach a significant figure.

If you or a loved one has suffered a devastating injury caused by another party’s negligence, please get in touch with our Waco amputation attorney today.