harmonicaman at earthlink.net
Wed Feb 2 03:54:44 PST 2000
>From a prosthetist's point of view:
There are many individuals who choose to undergo amputation, for
many reasons. Some of those reasons are:
extreme pain in the affected limb
extreme deformity in the affected limb
cancerous growth in the affected limb
(removal of the limb as an alternative to chemo / radiation)
(well, not exactly the same, because the parents choose)
I don't consider amputation a "choice" when it is a lifesaving
procedure, i.e. due to infection / gangrene / etc.
Many people who choose amputation are very happy with their
choice. Often they are able to regain a much higher level of
function than they previously had. I don't believe the "save the
limb at all costs" philosophy is always the best. Some diabetic
feet more closely resemble a boat anchor (and probably weigh as
much and function as well) than a human foot.... people are
often able to lead fuller, more productive lives as a result of
elective amputation surgery.
As far as "purely" elective amputation surgery, such as the cases
described in the other posts and George's particular situation, I
do think there is a place for it. BUT, just as an individual who
desires a sex change must undergo a substantial amount of
psychological therapy and counseling before their surgery will be
approved, there should be a similar period of therapy,
counseling, etc., to ensure that the person knows that amputation
surgery is an irreversible process.
If an amputation allows a person to "get on with their life" and
be productive, well, so be it. Do I think it's weird? Of
course. But I cannot put myself in their situation. Other
psychological disorders cause people to do some pretty unusual
things, often harmful to themselves or others (Munchausen by
proxy, molestation, etc.). Elective amputation, while unusual,
really doesn't endanger anyone else. If the person is compelled
to commit suicide because they can't be an amputee, then I say go
for the amputation. I don't think many health insurances would
cover the cost, though.
Maybe one of these elective amputees will go on to develop a cure
for some disease or do something of tremendous benefit to
Best of luck to those people who chose amputation. They'll need
it. I wonder if they will ever think that they "got more than
they bargained for"??? George, have you ever felt this way about
what you did?? I doubt it, based on your comments in other posts
during the past year, but I'm curious.
Anyway, just one young prosthetist's point of view.
Bill Lifford, C.P.
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