Sir – In response to your questions below:
The AUA would give amputees some leverage in bringing needed change to the
practice of prosthetics. I think the ‘industry’ is resistant to these
changes, thus I speculate that you people have anxiety about a union of
amputees since historically unions HAVE been effective in bringing about
change. Quake?? Well, the idea of such a union does motivate you to
respond to me.
The agenda of changes I have in mind (others will add their own and amend
mine) are found below in my discussion. This includes restructuring of
your ‘professionalism’, evaluation of talent as well as formal credentials
(testing etc) of persons working in the field, development of a meaningful
education effort directed to amputees and their families and the public at
large, among other things.
I want you people to become true professionals and separate yourselves from
the selling of products. The ‘bottom line’ for your businesses is too
evident in the handling of your patients’ (clients) needs. In the same
breath I add that I want you to realize benefits in all ways comparable to
the MDs, to which I consider you (or want to consider you) equal in your
own right, noting that the restorations you provide are fully as important
as the medical interventions occasioning them. You can’t be truly
professional until you can concentrate and really focus on the problems of
the amputee, which are the reason for your existence. You provide a NEW
limb for a human being which I consider absolutely as demanding as the care
of the health of that person.
I propose that the union of amputees set up a system of evaluation of
prosthetic services, which would recognize the value of the work of truly
talented persons and would work to see that insurers would favorably view
such superior work as the most economical.
btw – ADVANCED prosthetics??? What IS advanced prosthetics??? Who doesn’t
The question of talent of individuals practicing in the field is now
largely ignored, but its importance is central. Anybody, talented or not,
can pass the testing hurdles given assiduous preparation. My own
experience in passing the architectural boards is an example…..I
certainly was NOT a talented architect but I did pass. And in this field
the talent of the prosthetist impacts with immense intensity in his work.
So mere passing is not enough. People without talent must be shifted to
non-critical areas. The education of people entering this work must be
extended to include meaningful residency programs (far beyond the current
2000 hrs…..that’s merely one year) where the accomplished skills of the
master practitioner are absorbed and the talent for the work is assessed.
I think it important that specialties in prosthetics be established (AK,
BK, HD, HP etc) and that a saturated preparation be required for an
individual to do such work. (EG, not every prosthetist can fit a
Symes….perhaps it takes a special talent, and preparation, for this and
for all levels as well.)
The AUA will also provide pressure toward a new educational vector to be
provided by the newly professional prosthetists. This will include
education in depth of amputees and their families about their new
situation. Education of the public at large about limb loss and
replacement to dispel the general ignorance and anxiety. This is an effort
in which prosthetists could really shine and alleviate huge suffering
because the greatest part of the suffering of a new amputee eventuates from
his enormous anxiety and ignorance as he embarks on his changed life.
Another important work is the development of protocols covering readiness
to be fit….ending once and for all the tragi-comic steeplechase after the
Perhaps the above sheds some light on my interest in a union of amputees.
And the ‘industry’ is certainly free to start its own union, I doubt square
one. As for taking charge of my own prosthetic needs….welllll, I did go
that way back in the early 70s, got all the course work, lacking ‘clinical
affiliation’ and was discouraged. I will be interested to read your
response to the above. George B.
> With respect I ask the following questions :
> 1. Why do you, and others(I presume), feel the need for an Amputee
> Union ?
> 2. What would be the purpose of the Amputee Union ? What would you hope
> to accomplish ?
> 3. Why would the ‘industry members’ quake in their boots ?
> 4. What if the ‘profession’ or ‘industry’ started their own union ?
> Would everyone be back to square one ?
> 5. If you truly want to take charge of your own destiny, should you not
> become a Prosthetist, Orthotist, C. Ped., etc., and handle your own care
> ? ( I know O&P colleagues that do just that. ).