The causes of amputation include: diabetes, cancer/disease/infection, trauma/accident, war, and congenital deformity. There is not one single amputee who had a say in their amputation. Yes, some amputees have a choice. For example, a cancer patient can choose to live with cancer or try to fight it by loosing a limb. But it is not a choice to have an amputation, more often than not it is a choice to have a better quality of life. The same may be said for buying a car. To own a car can give you a better quality of life. But following an amputation, the choice to walk should not cost equal or more than the price of an automobile.
The society we live in today has seen that material have value regardless of their use. The metal, plastic, wood, or rubber that go into making a prosthetic for a patient are commodities. However, I have seen significant progress in the world of 3-D printing. It is possible today to built strong prosthetic limbs for individuals for under $40. At an accessibility innovations show in Toronto I attended I watched prosthetic limb prototypes being made quickly and inexpensively. The time and cost of 3-D limbs can be cut in half. I need to do more research on the developments of 3-D limbs as I am not sure why this isn't the new normal for amputees. Regardless, have two legs is a humans initial form of transportation. Taking our first steps as a baby lead to running and forward in life. The famous quote goes " A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step", so why are these steps given price tags?
For further information on the cost of prosthetic limbs and living with an amputation, check out these links or talk to me:
CBC. (2013). "How much do new cars cost in the the U.S. and Canada?". Marketplace. http://www.cbc.ca/marketplace/blog/how-much-do-new-cars-cost-in-the-the-u.s.-and-canada
Resnick, B. (2010). "The Problem With Modern-Day, High-Tech Prosthetics". Popular Mechanics. http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/health/a6302/high-tech-prosthetics-fitting/
Mohney, G. (2013). "Health Care Costs for Boston Marathon Amputees Add Up Over Time". ABC News. http://abcnews.go.com/Health/health-care-costs-boston-marathon-amputees-add-time/story?id=19035114