Erin Ehm's insurance company will buy her a new set of prosthetic feet every three years, but her $6,000/foot Echelon VT hydraulic prosthetics break down every 10 months.
Erin's feet are now out of warranty, but she doesn't yet qualify for a new insurance-funded replacement, and one of them has broken down. She contacted the manufacturer, Blatchford UA (formerly Endolite) and asked them if she could pay for a repair, but Blatchford "would not repair them for any cost. Full stop." But they did offer to sell her a new one.
Erin depends on her prosthetic feet for everything (as you might imagine!): both the physical activities that keep her fit, healthy and happy, as well as everyday necessities like driving her car, which has not been fitted with hand-controls.
Last week I “blew out” the hydraulics on one of my feet. It was a foot that had been repaired under warranty in 2017, then stored in my closet until just a couple weeks ago as a backup emergency pair. I need emergency feet, because if I can't walk, I can't really do much. I can't take my son to school or make him meals. I can't drive to work. Not to mention the fact that I can’t leave the house to do any of the things I enjoy. I don't own a wheelchair and wouldn't know the first thing about navigating the world in one. My cars don't have hand controls. Let it be known that I acknowledge that I am extremely privileged in disabled society for the record. But if I had no feet, it would be a seismic shift for me and my family. As if becoming disabled all over again.
Okay guys, I'm angry. [Erin Ehm/Facebook]
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