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Companies to Donate Prosthetic Legs to Boston Bombing Victims in Need
Date:5/1/2013

By Brenda Goodman
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, April 30 (HealthDay News) -- A coalition of manufacturers has pledged to provide new prosthetic legs for victims of the Boston Marathon bombings if their health insurance won't cover the full cost of the devices.

Prosthetic limbs are prescribed by doctors and have to be fitted to suit an amputee's activity level and needs.

The price tag for an artificial leg for a below-the-knee amputee can run from $8,000 to $12,000, while the cost of a prosthetic to replace a leg lost above the knee can run between $40,000 and $60,000.

Dr. David Crandell, director of the amputee program at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, is treating 16 patients who were injured in the Boston attacks, including eight amputees. He said two of those patients lost both legs. Four patients lost a leg below the knee, and two more lost a leg above the knee.

It's not clear whether the patients have enough insurance to fully cover the cost of new prosthetics, but the prosthetic manufacturers said they wanted patients to know that their devices would be covered if they needed financial help.

"We want to ensure that in the midst of this horrific tragedy, these individuals are not further traumatized by the harsh and unreasonable limits that are present in all too many health insurance policies today in the United States. As an industry, we would not want to see these people victimized twice," said Tom Fise, executive director of the American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association, who spoke at a news conference Tuesday to announce the initiative.

Two weeks ago, two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring more than 260 others. Some of the most seriously wounded victims lost one or both legs in the blast.

Insurance coverage for prosthetics varies widely. While government plans like Medicare and the VA generally provide ful
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