We're talking about ReWalk which is "a battery-powered robotic exoskeleton that attaches to the legs and lower back" (Washington Post). It could be the future of mobility for somebody with paralysis or muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, or any other type of physical or mobility disability.
Rewalk was approved by the FDA and in 2015 the VA began covering the equipment for veterans who qualified. Otherwise, however, the equipment is not typically covered by insurance and can run for up to $98,000 with the average at $81,000.
The cost must be measured against the benefit. Of course, if those with paralysis or severe disabilites were able to be mobile, it would dramatically decrease the amount of assistance and care that they would need. Still, the device is financially out of reach for many people with paralysis as, according to the Washington Post, "about 28 percent of the more than 5.2 million Americans living with paralysis survive on an annual household income of less than $15,000.00" (as quoting the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation). The equipment could also do a lot for people's dignity, restoring them to a more functioning role in their own lives. The question that springs up with the insurance companies is whether or not the equipment is medically necessary. But one has to wonder if the cost of caretaking by others and facilities could offset the cost of the exoskeleton over time.
According to the Washington Post, the average expenses for a person living with parapalegia are $519,520 for the first year and $68,821 for each subsequent year. For those living in DC and the surrounding areas the costs are likely higher than that. These figures do not account for lifetime lost wages, as only 34.3 percent of those living with parapalegia are still employed post-injury.
At Donahoe Kearney, we fight hard for the rights of those who have been victims of medical malpractice or have suffered through a serious injury and we understand very well the needs of those with special needs. We are so passionate about helping this specific population that we even wrote two books about it for children: Getting Everything Your Special Needs Child Deserves and Picking Up the Pieces: A Parents Guide to Medical Malpractice. We also have a free report available about medical malpractice for any age: 7 Symptoms of Medical Malpractice: How You Can Recognize, Stop, and Avoid Medical Mistakes. You can order any of our books and reports absolutely free of charge.
If you or your child have been in a serious injury, or you think you may have been a victim of medical malpractice please give us a call at 202-393-3320 to speak with a real person today. You can speak to somebody for no obligation and no cost. Or, you can email us at [email protected] and we will send you a confidential intake form, again at no cost.
We work hard to make sure that somebody with special needs caused by somebody else's negligence will get the money to cover their life time of care.