With the conflicts in Iraq and
Afghanistan amputees and prostheses have been thrust into the
limelight, and regretfully it is events like this that drive the
public’s interest and needed prostheses research. With this
awakened interest in amputees and prostheses it is important
that what does reach the public is factual, and
that is our purpose.
We have already seen mainstream
media pick up on this with “amputees” from the conflict
appearing on such television shows as Law and Order and Cold
Case. However, as was the case in Cold Case real amputees were
not used to depict themselves in their own real life roles. In
one episode of Law and Order - Criminal Intent an above the knee
amputee was depicted as wearing a prosthesis for a below the
knee amputee. The role was that of an OIF veteran. It is our
opinion that amputees do have the talent and ability to
contribute honestly in roles where the character has a limb
loss, and should be allowed the opportunity to do so. As it is
only through this honest portrayal that the public will gain
true understanding and acceptance for those with limb loss in
Too often we have seen in movies
such as Treasure Island, Peter Pan, Hook and The Fugitive the
amputee has been cast as a villain or in movies like Horse
Whisperer and Duce Bigalow a real prosthesis was not shown. Yet
some television shows such as CSI have an amputee cast member
with no mention of their amputation. In the movies Forrest Gump
and Storm Troopers we saw the introduction of the CGI Amputee.
One extreme to the other, no middle ground, and not the honest
portrayal of the amputee or prostheses.
Planet Terror with its main character Cherry Darling, an
above knee amputee, although CGI and pure fiction did cast the
amputee in a positive light as a heroine and strong role model
The TNT television series
HawthoRNe was by far the worst with the non-amputee actor making
no attempt to emulate the gait of an amputee, and in one scene
showing a right leg prosthesis for a left leg amputee.
It is our hope that through our
efforts a more honest portrayal of amputees and prostheses will
be presented to the public by the film and television industry.