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The Hidden Costs of Amputations

The Hidden Costs of Amputations

April is Limb Loss and Limb Difference Awareness Month. A time when we pause to remember and honor the millions living with limb loss after an amputation. When advanced wound care strategies are not applied and a wound becomes unmanageable, physicians are oftentimes forced to turn to this extreme procedure. It is traumatic for the patient and changes their lives forever. It is also extraordinarily expensive. The average cost of an amputation below the knee is $70,000 with therapy and prosthetics adding an additional $40,000. 

In this blog we’ll uncover some of the other hidden costs that occur when physicians resort to amputations. 

Follow up Amputations

Because the conditions that caused the initial non-healing wound are still very much present and have not been dealt with, it is unlikely that the surgical wounds from the primary amputation will heal properly and without infection. This quickly leads to more amputation surgeries for the same wound. Additionally, if a patient with diabetes requires an amputation of one leg, about 50% of that population will require amputation of the other leg as well. 

Loss of Life 

If an amputation heals successfully, patients who undergo the procedure have a three-year mortality risk of 71 percent. Preventing amputations is truly a matter of life and death. Even if the patient doesn’t succumb to these risk factors and die, they will continue to suffer lingering effects of the amputation. They will certainly suffer emotionally and oftentimes fall into depression. The lack of mobility can also lead to financial hardships leaving the patient feeling further desperate and isolated. 

Lawsuits

When physicians run out of healing options and turn to amputations, legal action can often follow. Oftentimes it becomes clear that the clinical team missed the root cause of the medical issue or didn’t manage the patient’s wounds properly, leading to an amputation that could have been avoided. These settlements can often reach as high as $15 million. Furthermore the court cases are often public and damage the reputation of your hospital. 

The Answer

Wound Care Advantage was founded on the belief that a majority of amputations can be prevented with the right treatments and technologies. Everything we do, we do for our patients. To see them walk out the door on their own two feet with a healed wound is incredibly rewarding, especially when they come to us after being told that amputation is their only option. 

By incorporating a dedicated wound care team into your patients care plan you can begin treating the underlying cause of the non-healing wound while offering the most effective treatments available. This combination is often enough to save lives and limbs. Wound care, if including hyperbaric oxygen therapy, can cost the insurance payer around $15,000. It’s not a small sum but when compared to the extreme costs of amputation, it’s worth the investment.  

By understanding the business of wound care you can do more to prevent amputations in your hospital or wound center. Reach out to us today to get in touch with experts who can help strengthen your wound center and prevent amputations in your community. Let’s start a conversation at 1.888.484.3922 or info@thewca.com.