April 26th, 2013
10:15 PM ET

Boston bombing survivor chose amputation

Faced with a difficult decision she never imagined she'd have to make, Heather Abbott had doctors remove her severely wounded foot. She tells Anderson Cooper about her choice and explains why she's optimistic about the future.

If you'd like to help, please visit Heather Abbott's fundraising page: http://www.gofundme.com/HeatherAbbott

Find out how you can help all the victims of the attack: How to Help 

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Filed under: Boston Marathon Attack
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. RandyAB

    What a ridiculous comment Hatem. As a surgeon I will say that there are limits to what done to "repair the damage". It is impossible to comment on this specific case but I imagine that if the surgeons were able to "save" the foot it likely would have had a very poor functional result. Sometimes a good prosthetic is better than a permanently asensate (numb), non-functional appendage which I would hazard is the choice this particular patient had to make. This "sue the doctor, the hospital, and everybody else" mentality ultimately degrades the healthcare system for everybody.

    May 17, 2013 at 6:24 pm |
  2. Amanda

    Embracing regenerative medicine like MEBO and even the idea of regeneration doesn't just happen in the medical rooms. I think in order for this technique and these ideas to really jump on, you need to embrace the unknown abilities of the human body and spirit. Most people don't have that much imagination.

    May 8, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
    • Heather

      I think people would be more willing to embrace this scientific revolution if they had more KNOWLEDGE. I've been reading about Dr. Xu and his work for years, so I can speak with confidence. That's just something that will come with more time and more awareness.

      May 8, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
  3. Wayne B

    It was just severly wounded! Where were the doctors to say "Hey let's try and repair this foot! Maybe we can regenerate some of these cells or these tissues!" Dr. Xu's MEBO/MEBT is a valid science that has changed people's lives. Our medical community needs to step into the future.

    May 8, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
  4. Kevin

    Optimism and hope is going to be a huge part of this young woman's life. She sounds like she has a really strong outlook on life despite this whole event. It's too bad that doctor's MEBO treatment isn't here in the US yet. Is it something that will be here soon or is it a long way off?

    May 7, 2013 at 12:33 am |
    • Heather

      It's in the hands of the FDA, but it does look good to be a part of the US medical care system. I don't mean to seem like a Dr. Xu cheerleader but his work in China during the earthquake really touched me. It's not just regenerative medicine [which is awesome] but there's also a lot of benefits for burn victims. We'll all have to wait and see.

      May 7, 2013 at 12:37 am |
  5. Jennifer Hill

    I'm just praying for the day when amputations are a second choice to the regenerative medicine field, especially the work honed by Dr. Xu in China. Lots of love Heather as you begin this next chapter of your life xoxo

    May 6, 2013 at 11:50 pm |
  6. Winnie

    I went over to her fundraising site, and she's already raised 160K toward her 500K goal. That's amazing, but gosh that costs a lot. How much is Dr. Xu's treatment? Is it even available here?

    May 3, 2013 at 10:26 pm |
    • Heather

      His treatment is still in process, so there's no information on rates. If you google him, you can learn about his research and the work his company MEBO did during the Sichuan earthquake.

      May 3, 2013 at 10:51 pm |
  7. Dan W

    The American healthcare industry needs a severe shaking. So many countries are developing options for situations just like this. Why does it seem like we are so far behind?

    May 3, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
    • Heather

      Exactly Dan! Regenerative medicine researcher Rongxiang Xu has been doing amazing work in China for years – most recently with the victims of the Sichuan earthquake and we never hear about this treatment.

      May 3, 2013 at 10:11 pm |
  8. ColinK

    Awesome point Hatem. Really, she should have been given the chance to explore other options. A Dr. named Rongxiang Xu has been able to make huge strides in repairing these kinds of injuries. I wish you the best Heather!

    May 3, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
    • Heather

      Ha Colin! We're on the same page

      May 3, 2013 at 10:13 pm |
  9. Roland Chalifoux

    She is a very courageous individual. Should inspire those of us who think we have aches and pains. I hope that she along with others receive some type of compensation for these injuries including health and sick days. After all, the suspected terrorist is getting "FREE" legal help thanks to the American taxpayer!

    April 30, 2013 at 10:46 pm |
    • Christine

      Aww I completely agree! Reading something like this makes me realize that things aren't that bad. I wonder what her recovery time would be like if they were using the of MEBO nutrient composition with the bandages versus regular bandages on their own. I haven't seen much dicussion of the materials they are using in her recovery.

      May 8, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
      • Roger McNeil

        You're not going to hear about that Christine. The technicqies and science behind MEBO and MEBT is awaiting FDA approval. The last thing a big pharma wants to do is highlight how another product could work better than theirs.

        May 8, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
  10. Jennifer Cullen

    Thank you, Anderson, for sharing Heather's story with the world. She is amazing. Heather Strong!!

    April 29, 2013 at 8:11 pm |
  11. Hatem

    She should not have been pressured to make that decision so quickly. She should have been allowed to keep her foot, and they should have done operations to repair the damage. Then she could have opted for amputation at a later time, if she found that there were insurmountable problems with the foot. She was asked to take a quick decsion while there was no need for a rush at all. I hope she sues the doctor and the hospital.

    April 27, 2013 at 6:44 pm |
    • Denise W

      I don't think she was pressured to make a decision. It's just that they only have so many decisions to make. I hope they start to expand what kind of treatments they offer people in the future. There has to be more out there than amputation.

      May 3, 2013 at 10:16 pm |
    • Wayne B

      @Hatem We weren't in the room with her or her doctors. They are dealing with what they have. When the US starts embracing more expirimental processes like MEBO/MEBT, these doctors will awaken the human body’s innate potential to regenerate. Until then they have to make these decisions.

      May 8, 2013 at 12:37 pm |