Letter: Help for new amputees
I would like to offer sympathy and prayers for the victims and families of the cowardly act of terrorism in Boston. Those who have lost limbs are now forced to make adaptations for the rest of their lives. It’s not easy to become a survivor or to find that source of resiliency, deep within, that helps victims get beyond the tragedy and see that everything that brought joy and meaning to their life is still there. Most discover a large circle of new friends, themselves amputees, who can offer support and adaptive clues.
Toward that end, The Amputee Coalition of America established an all-volunteer group (all amputees themselves) to help new or impending amputees adapt. After a preparation, these “peer visitors” can come and talk to the new amputee, bringing information from the public domain. Peer visitors do not bring any commercial messages or offer any medical advice. Although understandably sympathetic and prepared to listen, they do not offer counseling, spiritual or religious messages.
Peer visitors also do not come uninvited. They must receive a request for a visit by the patient, family member or health-care provider. They prearrange meeting at a mutually agreeable time, after patients have communicated that they would like to talk. This service is totally without cost, a voluntary service from one amputee to another. Additional information is available at amputee-coalition.org.