False, or deceptive advertising is the use of false or misleading statements in advertising material. As advertising has the potential to persuade people into spending money, I feel that advertising can be irresponsible, cruel and unethical in the prosthetic profession. An amputee is usually at one of the lowest points in their lives emotionally after amputation and they will do, or believe almost anything that promises them recovery and successful social integration. They will grasp at any straw to return to the life they had before the amputation.

I do believe that ethical advertising may assist the amputee in the recovery process but please take the following points into consideration:

Remember that we live in Africa. What seems to work in other first world countries might not be as effective here. So beware of advertising featuring pictures of amputees walking on cobblestone roads in Europe. Look for local examples.

Beware of advertising based on studies performed in cold countries. In Africa the climate is very hot and excessive perspiration can have catastrophic side effects. The dust can also influence the way filters and hydraulics work.

Compare apples with apples. If a prosthetic solution works for a twenty something year old super athlete, the chance that the same solution is going to work for a 50 or even a 40 year old is quite slim.

  • The donning and doffing of a prosthesis should be easily manageable.
  • If you are presented with a quick fix, please make sure that it is indeed a fix.
  • If you are presented with a solution or prosthetic component, find out what else is available on the market. The Internet can be very helpful.

It’s your life and your money. You are entitled to an open and honest second opinion and self-respecting confident practitioners will encourage this. Please make sure that the outcome of your treatment meets the promises made before the treatment started. It is a good idea to ask your treating practitioner to commit to a time frame and a treatment plan.