How to Donate Prosthetic Artificial Limbs

Written by lane cummings
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How to Donate Prosthetic Artificial Limbs
Donating a prosthetic limb can make a real difference in a disadvantaged country. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

If you -- or someone you know -- no longer needs a prosthetic limb, it might seem like a shame to let such an expensive piece of medical equipment simply collect dust. Unfortunately, in the United States it's not acceptable to reuse prosthetic limbs, because of legal issues, as states the official website of the Amputee Coalition. However, it is customary to take apart such prosthetic limbs and ship them to third world countries for victims of accidents and disasters.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Bubble wrap
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Large box
  • Packing peanuts
  • Packing tape

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  1. 1

    Visit the website and click on their prosthetic limb donation fact sheet. This will give you the names and contact information of foundations all over the United States.

  2. 2

    Look up the foundation closest to you and write down their address. Draft a brief letter to the foundation, with your name and address on it, explaining your intention to donate the prosthetic limb and who the original owner was. Also include your contact phone number and e-mail address.

  3. 3

    Cut a piece of bubble wrap, so that it's at least 4 feet wide and 12 to 18 inches longer than the height of your prosthetic limb. Lay your bubble wrap horizontally in front of you, with the bubble-side up.

  4. 4

    Unfold your prosthetic limb so it's perfectly straight. Place it on the right end of the bubble wrap. Wrap the right side of the bubble wrap around the limb and then roll it. So when finished, it has a sheath of bubble wrap. Tape the bubble wrap in place. You will have an excess of bubble wrap at the top and bottom. Fold over the bubble wrap at the top and bottom of the limb and tape it in place.

  5. 5

    Fill a box that is twice as wide and twice as deep at the prosthetic limb and 6 inches longer than it in length, with packing peanuts. Place the wrapped limb in the bed of packing peanuts.

  6. 6

    Fill the remainder of the box with packing peanuts so it is stuffed. Close the flaps of the box and shake it slightly. If you've added enough packing peanuts the limb won't move or shake. Open the flaps again and place your letter inside.

  7. 7

    Close the flaps and tape them shut securely. Address the box to the foundation of your choice. Write your own address on the box as well as the return address. Mail the item out from the Post Office. When you do pay for its shipping, it would be wise to get package tracking and insurance.

Tips and warnings

  • Alternatively you can contact hospitals in your area to get a list of all the prosthetic limbs facilities near or in your hometown. Contact the closest prosthetic facilities near you and see of they sponsor trip to third world countries to do prosthetic work. Often times before such trips, companies will collect donations of limbs.

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