Homeless Ontario amputee seeks 'financial miracle' after finding out $60K prosthetic won't be covered
An amputee living out of his car in Oakville, Ont. fears he may have to forfeit the ability to walk after finding out that the prosthetic he requires will cost him tens of thousands of dollars upfront, alongside a lifetime of maintenance expenses.
“I was in complete and utter shock,” Thomas Mohr told CTV News Toronto in an interview last week. “I paid my taxes for 52 years and I ended up like this."
- Download our app to get local alerts on your device
- Get the latest local updates right to your inbox
Mohr said he was recently told he was not a candidate for Ontario's Assistive Devices Program (ADP), a program which covers a portion of the funds needed for most prosthetic limbs, as the model he requires is too complex a fit.
To get the correct fit, he will need at least US$60,000 upfront, he says.
The problem, according to Annelise Petlock, Manager of Member Programs with The War Amps, is far more widespread than most would like to believe.
“Canadians are often shocked to learn that if they lose a limb, they'll be on the hook to pay tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket for even the most basic forms of artificial limbs,” Petlock told CTV News Toronto Tuesday.
Petlock likens the ADP to a "band-aid on a gaping wound," or a short-term solution in need of upgrading.
“There have been very few upgrades to provincial funding models in the last 20 years,” Petlock said. “It’s a really big problem.”
When reached for comment, Ontario’s Ministry of Health did not respond by the stated deadline to CTV News Toronto's questions on claims that the ADP is suffering from a lack of funding.
Thomas Mohr can be seen above in his vehicle. (Handout by Mohr)
‘NO OPTIONS OR OTHER AVENUES'
For most of his life, Mohr owned and operated a construction company in the Greater Toronto Area, but when the pandemic hit and one of his loved ones died, he said he was forced to relocate to living out of his vehicle
In late winter 2022, Mohr suffered a fall – at first, he thought nothing of it, he said – until his baby toe started “not looking right.”
He went to the emergency department and was given antibiotics. For months, he took the medicine prescribed to him and underwent additional treatments, but ultimately, the toe and surrounding area continued to suffer damage, he said.
By early summer, the wound had only gotten worse and, on July 14, he underwent an emergency amputation on his left foot, removing the limb at around the mid-point of the calf.
After weeks of rehabilitation following his surgery, Mohr said he was told that because the stump of his leg was uniquely shaped, he would not qualify for a standard prosthetic under the ADP.
“Then, they sent me on my way with no options or other avenues I knew to pursue,” he said. “I had nowhere to go, so I went to my vehicle and that’s where I am today.”
Mohr’s stump is bulbous, meaning that instead of narrowing as you move towards the stump, the leg gets wider. This is what has caused him so much trouble in finding a proper limb.
In most cases, ADP covers 75 per cent of assistive equipment required by eligible residents. The patient must pay the additional 25 per cent out of pocket when purchasing their equipment.
However, in some cases, the program doesn’t cover needed prosthetics at all – only upper and lower limb prosthetics considered to be “basic” models are eligible for coverage and in the case of motorized devices, only upper limbs can be covered.
When reached for comment, the Ministry of Health, which oversees the ADP, did not respond to questions on gaps in prosthetic coverage for Ontario residents by the stated deadline.
After learning that accessing a sufficient prosthetic was not going to be as simple as he'd envisioned, Mohr said he identified one possible option, but it would take a “financial miracle” to pull off.
‘A FINANCIAL MIRACLE’
Martin Bionics, located in Oklahoma, U.S., specializes in custom-made sockets for prosthetic limbs. It’s also one of the only facilities that can build a socket to fit Mohr, he says.
“The problem there is it's going to cost US$60,000 just for the leg and that's not the end of the story,” he said. “Every two to three years, I’m going to need adjustments and maintenance, and then, after probably about five years, you need an entirely new leg.”
‘This is going to be an ongoing cost for the rest of my life, and it's not going away,” he continued.
The only way Mohr could envision reaching his financial goal? Launching a community fundraiser. The GoFundMe, titled ‘Help Rebuild my Life After Unexpected Amputation, launched in May, has raised about $18,000 of its $1,500,000 goal.
"I've pretty much come to a standstill," he said.
Warning: The following GoFundMe link contains images that are extremely graphic in nature and that some readers may find disturbing. To view the fundraiser, click here.
While the amount may seem high, Mohr said it’s what’s needed to cover a lifetime of recurring costs.
"I have nothing else I know to do," he said.
Thomas Mohr can be seen in a photo taken before his 2021 fall and subsequent amputation. (Handout by Mohr)
The high costs burdening amputees in Canada have more people turning to unorthodox means to secure their equipment, according to Petlock – a trend she called a "shame" on provincial governments.
“We see people doing things like Mr. Mohr, turning to crowdfunding to get a leg, and to The War Amps, this is a canary in the coal mine,” she said.
The GoFundMe avenue is a “stopgap” solution because it can only be accessed once when prosthetic care “is required for a lifetime,” Petlock explained.
“You don't just get one prosthesis and it's good forever – you might need another in three years or less, especially as a new amputee, when there's swelling and then physical changes,” she continued.
There’s also the cost of supplies, like sockets, that often get worn out, Petlock said. Even if maintenance costs are managed to be kept low, most people need an entirely new device every three to five years as well, she continued.
While ADP covers regular repairs on basic prosthetics, it does not cover any repairs to any damage caused by “misuse or neglect.”
“Again, I think the word here is shock – very few people have thousands of dollars and this means that someone who's suffered a devastating loss of a limb is further penalized with either ongoing debt or the loss of the ability to walk,” she said.
“It's an impossible decision but it’s a matter of independence, of dignity, and of being able to take care of yourself."
The Shopping Trends team is independent of the journalists at CTV News. We may earn a commission when you use our links to shop. Read about us.
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
The federal government is buying at least 14 Boeing surveillance planes from the United States to replace the aging CP-140 Aurora fleet, cabinet ministers announced Thursday. The deal costs more than $10.3 billion in total, including US$5.9 billion for the jets themselves, and the planes are expected to be delivered in 2026 and 2027.
Conservative MP Rachael Thomas has apologized after drawing criticism from other members of Parliament for asking Heritage Minister Pascale St-Onge to answer questions in English at a committee meeting.
Emergency work is underway after a collapse at a Coquitlam, B.C., construction site that was caught on camera this week.
Corey Perry says he has started seeking help for his struggles with alcohol following his release from the NHL's Chicago Blackhawks.
Yvonne Drebert and Zach Melnick were looking for invasive mussels when they found something no one has laid eyes on for 128 years.
Hamas freed eight Israeli hostages Thursday in exchange for Israel's release of more Palestinian prisoners under a last-minute deal to extend their ceasefire in Gaza by another day.
On 1st day, UN climate conference sets up fund for countries hit by disasters like flood and drought
Nearly all the world's nations on Thursday finalized the creation of a fund to help compensate countries struggling to cope with loss and damage caused by climate change, seen as a major first-day breakthrough at this year's UN climate conference
B.C. man tries to appeal driving ban by claiming his designated driver crashed his Mercedes, fled the scene
B.C.'s Supreme Court has upheld a 90-day driving ban for a man who refused to give a breath sample after crashing his Mercedes into a ditch – rejecting his claim that an "unnamed designated driver" was behind the wheel and fled the scene.
Investigators have 'strong reason' to believe that a suspect taken into custody in Morocco could be behind numerous bomb threats across Ontario in early November, police say.
On Thursday, Quebec Court Justice Joey Dubois sentenced Kenneth Marlin to 14 years in prison for abusing five children over the span of a decade on his parents' farm in Hemmingford, Que., a small rural town about 65 kilometres south of Montreal.
Montreal police (SPVM) are investigating after a 20-year-old man was discovered inside a car with a fatal gunshot wound Thursday afternoon.
A union representing workers at Montreal's public transit authority (STM) claims the company is cutting 255 positions to help overcome its deficit.
Many Londoners will have to survive this winter in tent encampments. The dire situation is being exacerbated by the arrival of asylum seekers and newcomers to Canada who are occupying more and more beds inside shelters operated by Mission Services.
A low-pressure system is set to arrive in midwestern Ontario Friday, bringing with it showers and the chance of mixed precipitation.
With the need being greater than ever for the London Food Bank, the Business Cares Food Drive kicked off its annual holiday season campaign.
Aislinn Clancy has won a historic byelection for Kitchener Centre and the Green Party of Ontario.
'That could have been my home': Residents call for action after attempted arson at Waterloo apartment
A 21-year-old woman was arrested after allegedly attempting to set a fire inside a Waterloo apartment building.
A Kitchener restaurant says thieves broke into their business not once – but three times – on the same night.
A 34-year-old suspect is in custody after three people received serious but not life-threatening injuries in a stabbing attack late Thursday morning in Sudbury.
Thursday was the final day of work for employees on the pulp side of Domtar’s pulp and paper mill in Espanola.
Bobbie Halleart, the man who shot and killed his three children and a 41-year-old woman Oct. 23 in the Sault, was found with a .38 calibre revolver and a rifle, police said Thursday.
An Ottawa family physician won't get to stay in Canada after she did not meet the threshold due to factors outside her control.
Mercato Zacconi in Ottawa's Little Italy is closing its doors due to a dispute with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario over the sale of alcohol.
'Our whole lives are upside down': Family describes terrifying Centrepointe shooting that critically injured family dog
A family pet is in emergency care after being shot by a stray bullet one week ago.
People living in a downtown Windsor condo building are still feeling the effects after a parked vehicle fell through the ground into an underground electric vault in September.
In the five years Gary Kaschak has been on city council, the most complaints he receives, “is about traffic.”
A group of southwestern Ontario hospitals is facing a potential $480-million class action lawsuit after at least 270,000 patients in the region had their data breached and reportedly sold by hackers on the dark web.
More than two years after a loss no parent should face, a Barrie family is starting the holiday season off with a glimmer of hope after winning the RVH Auxiliary's record-setting November 50/50 draw worth $266,908.
Wasaga Beach's chief administration officer dropped a political bombshell in council on Thursday, with allegations the previous administration engaged in questionable behaviour.
An early morning fire raged through and destroyed four new townhouses in the Blue Mountains
Police say human remains found in Big Bras D’Or, N.S., belong to a woman who was reported missing last week. Her death is now being investigated as a homicide.
The 2023 Atlantic hurricane season comes to an end on Thursday as the fourth
A man who fell into a Moncton garbage truck was rescued Wednesday morning.
Police are investigating after a fatal shooting Thursday night in the Beltline.
Nazem Kadri scored the winner in overtime as the Calgary Flames defeated the Dallas Stars 4-3 in overtime Thursday night.
Coming face-to-face with polar bears, tracking otters gliding through the water and watching caribou prancing delighted guests at the Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo the day before the public unveiling of its newly renovated exhibit.
'Still loved by many people': Family of missing man starts billboard campaign looking for information
Relatives of a man who has been missing since 2021 are launching a campaign in the hopes someone will come forward with information.
A Winnipeg brewery says the 'Humbug' sign that it put up on its roof just a few days ago needed to come down.
Animals living at Assiniboine Park Zoo are on the hunt for new toys and other enrichment items heading into the holiday season.
There was an "officer-involved shooting" in Abbotsford on Thursday, B.C.'s police watchdog has confirmed.
B.C.'s Ministry of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness has taken the unusual step of issuing a public warning several days before an upcoming storm.
A woman who used a filleting knife and hammer in an attempt to kill her online nemesis inside a Vancouver courtroom will spend 12 years in prison, a judge ruled Thursday.
A councillor for the Town of Devon, just southwest of Edmonton, was sentenced Thursday to 120 days in jail for harassing and threatening members of her family.
Alberta’s budget surplus is growing but will be offset by more than $1 billion this year to pay for floods, forest fires and drought.
Draft plans for distinct districts — the latest work on the 15-minute city vision Edmonton planners have been developing over the last three years — will be presented to the urban planning committee next week.