My name is Dan McMullan and I am an above-knee amputee. In 1984, when I was 21 years old, I lost my leg in a motorcycle accident that broke nearly every bone in the right side of my body. My parents passed away in 1970, and I was dealing with my medical issues largely on my own. As a young disabled person, with minimal parental support, it was particularly difficult to receive quality care.
After 14 months recovering in a hospital, I reached a stable state and was transferred to a Hospital in California. The first night I was in the hospital, a disabled woman died in a bathtub accident due to malpractice. I left in fear and spent the next decade, homeless, with no medical care.
Whilst homeless, I spent nearly an entire week sleeping on the steps of the Social Security office, taking a number every morning, hoping they would call me. By the end of the week, a representative approached me, and I walked out with my first disability check in eight years. This inspired me to become an activist for people with disabilities. I was able to get off the streets and regain a normal lifestyle, because I actively pursued whatever prosthetic care I could get, and I want to make sure other people have the same opportunities.
I am now 52 years old, and have transitioned into Medi-Cal coverage in California. I have been wearing a prosthesis for 21 years, but there are still obstacles to overcome. As an advocate for people with disabilities and the homeless, I feel the need to improve care for the vulnerable Medicare population. All amputees, regardless of coverage, deserve to have the same life experiences available to them that I now have. Most amputees are not athletes or young active patients. The vast majority are Medicare eligible individuals that struggle with volume control, poor fit, and comfort. I firmly believe that the Infinite Socket should be a prosthetic socket solution that is available to them, and I would recommend empowering them to function with purpose in their communities.
Achieving prosthetic enablement is a process in itself. Each amputee’s needs and abilities change over time, especially in terms of limb fluctuation. Instead of living within device specifications, the Infinite Socket is a device that actually grows and evolves with you as your needs and abilities change. This allows me to work meaningfully towards day-to-day challenges such as walking without the fear of my leg falling off.
Yes, LIM’s process may be different, but their ideologies are all on the right tracks. By providing amputees with the comfort, control and adjustability amputees often crave for, they have provided an alternative that is available with Medicare/Medi-Cal. They want to work with prosthetists, they want to work with amputees, and want to make evolutions to a product that is both conceptually different and unique in it’s custom design with varying suspension styles and tensioning options for the brim.
Today I am married with three kids, and a Commissioner on the Human Welfare and Community Action Commission for the City of Berkeley. My organization, Disabled People Outside Project, helps people with disabilities live with dignity and independence. I am blessed to truly understand how people experience disability and homelessness, and hope to use my experience to improve access to care for people with disabilities and the homeless.