To help patients decide between keeping a limb and amputating it, he calls in Donna Bogg, 50, who nearly lost her leg in a car accident when she was 22 and chose to amputate four years later because of pain and complications. Bogg answers patients' questions about life as an amputee when doctors don't know how to answer, she said.
In Massachusetts, the New England Amputee Association hopes to do the same for the Boston Marathon victims, said its founder, Rose Bissonnette, 66. She lost her left leg 16 years ago when she was crushed under a tractor trailer and had to decide whether to undergo amputation.
"I wanted to speak to a woman amputee," she said. "I didn't have that, and that's why we're here today. ... Our part is to listen to the patients and their families. We've been through this."
Dave Covino, 38, of New Hampshire has visited with patients facing amputation over the years, and he said they always ask about their limitations.
"I had my amputation when I was 16 years old, and my three questions were: Can I still drive a stick shift? Will I be able to go to prom? And can I ski again?" he said.
Covino went to his prom on crutches, still has his right foot to hit the clutch pedal on a stick shift and clocked his top skiing speed at 52 miles per hour last season.
"So all in all, even though I went through a lot of life changes, it was not the end of the world," he said.