“Amputation is a part of who I am but not the sum total of what I am. I am an amputee father, grandfather, certified private pilot and PADI Scuba Instructor. I can portray more character roles than just an amputee.”
–John Lawson, Westworld, American Horror Story, Law and Order
Former Dancing with the Stars contestant Amy Purdy, actress
Katy Sullivan, Divas With Disabilities Project’s Donna Walton
and Sons of Anarchy’s Kurt Yaeger also are amputees.
An amputee is someone who does not have all or part of at least one limb. Amputees may choose to wear a prosthesis. They may use assistive devices like a wheelchair, crutches or a cane to get around. It is possible that they experience phantom pains or sensations in the limb that is not there. Some amputees may require physical accessibility such as ramps or elevators. Some amputees may also require items that are easy to grasp.
According to Limbs for Life, on average, 507 people lose a limb each day, joining more than 2.1 million amputees living with limb loss in the United States. Diseases including diabetes and vascular disease, accidents, birth defects and warfare are the primary causes of limb loss. Both “someone with an amputation” and amputee are acceptable terms to use.
National organizations for people with an amputation:
- Amputee Coalition’s mission is to reach out to and empower people affected by limb loss to achieve their full potential through education, support and advocacy, and to promote limb loss prevention.
- The Limbs for Life Foundation is a global nonprofit organization dedicated to providing fully functional prosthetic care for individuals who cannot otherwise afford it and raising awareness of the challenges facing amputees.
- The National Association for the Advancement of Orthotics and Prosthetics is a nonprofit trade association dedicated to educating the public and promoting public policy in the interest of the O&P patient. They focus on healthcare legislation and regulation through government relations, advocacy and education of policymakers.