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Alabama Man Gets Bionic Hand After Amputation Accident

Jan 7, 2013 - Personal Injury, Tuscaloosa by

On December 29, 2012, the News Sentinel reported on an Alabama man who had recently been fitted with a bionic hand. The advanced medical device has allowed him to return to work just one year after he lost his limb in an industrial accident.

Our Tuscaloosa injury attorneys are glad to hear that this man is recovering, and now thriving, after such a serious injury. In the United States, around 1.7 million people live with limb loss according to the National Limb Loss Information Center.

Around 20 percent lose their limbs as a result of traumatic accidents. Many are faced with having multiple prosthetic limbs over the course of their lives. The story of the Alabama man with the bionic hand provides hope that advances in medical technology will allow more people who lose limbs to get their mobility back, provided that they can cover the costs of paying for medical advances. 1378216_hand

The Bionic Hand
According to the News Sentinel, the Alabama man fitted for the new bionic hand is one of just a few thousands who has the Touch Bionics i-Limb model. The prosthesis is one of the most technically advanced devices available and it is controlled by the muscles that would normally control the human hand if it had not been amputated. Each of the fingers of the hand can move independently and can bend at the joints so it is possible for the user to grab objects just like a normal human hand.

The bionic hand will allow the Alabama man to return to work at a new job that he can now do: working as a lab technician. The road to returning to work, however, has not been easy. The hand is his fifth prosthesis since he lost his limb in an October 2011 accident.

Amputation Injuries
Not every person who suffers an amputation injury has coverage that will pay for their treatment, the costs of which can be absolutely astronomical. According to a 2007 report in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery:

  • Patients facing limb loss and treated with reconstruction incurred an estimated $81,316 in medical costs.
  • Patients treated with amputation incurred an estimated $91,106 in medical costs.
  • The projected lifetime care for someone treated with amputation was $509,275.
  • The projected lifetime care for someone treated with reconstruction was $163,282.

The costs of treating limb loss will vary depending upon whether the limb was an upper or lower limb (these figures address lower limb amputation). However, part of what drives the cost is that prosthetic limbs typically have to be replaced multiple times, at a cost of tens-of-thousands each time.

Getting these costs covered can be challenging. If you were involved in an accident, however, you may have options. For example:

  • Those injured at work can have their medical costs covered by workers’ compensation. Injuries at work that lead to amputation often involve getting your limbs caught in a machine or crushed by an object.
  • Those injured in an auto accident can have their costs covered by filing a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible driver.
  • Those injured by a defective product can have their costs covered by the product manufacturer by filing a product liability claim.

Additional Resources:

Safe Driving in 2013 Should Top List of Priorities for Alabama Motorists, Alabama Injury Attorneys Blog, January 3, 2013.

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