Hanger Prosthetics & Orthotics Holds Annual Education Fair

  Johnnie Rouse, research & development consultant, Texas Assistive Devices, LLC

“Based on everything I saw and all the feedback I received, this was the pinnacle of education fairs for us,” said Ivan Sabel, CPO, chairman and chief executive officer of Hanger. “We had record attendance by both our internal group as well as suppliers.”

More than 750 Hanger employees, 300 vendor representatives and 35 patients wearing the latest high tech devices in the industry came together to learn about advances in technology and clinical applications.

“The company is doing well,” said Sabel. “There’s a camaraderie and a feeling of not only belonging, but of also sharing both in the successes that Hanger has enjoyed this past year, as well as looking forward to the future.”

The people at Hanger Prosthetics & Orthotics, Inc. managed to surpass all their previous outstanding education fairs, establishing the February 2003 Hanger Education Fair held in Reno, Nev., as the most impressive and polished symposium to date.

Innovative Courses

More than 40 courses paralleled this year’s theme “Growth Through Clinical Excellence and Technology.”

Yeongchi Wu, MD (center) receives the Lifetime Achievement Award. From left: Kevin Carroll, Van Sabel, Yeongchi Wu, Jack Uellendahl and Mike Brncick.  

In a two-day advanced course on Otto Bock Health Care’s C-Leg® Systems, Todd Anderson, CP, FAAOP, and Greg Schneider, CP, taught licensed practitioners how to fit, align and adjust the C-Leg. The course included an overview of the C-Leg, its structure, function and software; fitting preparation, assembly and alignment; advanced considerations, safety and service, and an interactive review with practitioners. Schneider explained that from the amputee’s perspective, the C-Leg is simple to use, anticipates intention and adjusts instantly. The amputee is more confident because there is less need to concentrate on the prosthesis.

“From the prosthetist’s perspective,” said Schneider, “it’s simple to use, the performance can be matched to the patient’s unique gait and it enhances good socket design and alignment.”

Otto Bock representatives maintain that the technology of the C-Leg can be likened to having a prosthetist inside the knee making adjustments 50 times per second, 4 million times per day.

The one-day prosthetic gait symposium was offered for the first time this year. Presented by Anderson, Schneider and Joe McTernan, director of regulatory affairs for Hanger, practitioners learned about both transtibial and transfemoral gait analyses. The interactive class included basic mechanics and muscle function, biomechanics, function of prosthetic knees and feet and gait deviations.

Randall Alley, CP, FAAOP, and Brian Monroe, CPO, offered a comprehensive advanced upper extremity socket design course. Course material included a comparison of traditional designs versus the anatomically contoured and controlled interface system (ACCI) and casting procedures, test socket fitting and adjustments, and finish socket and delivery of the radioulnar, transhumeral and shoulder areas. Alley has created a 70-page step-by-step biomechanically based practitioner resource manual with detailed instructions from casting to fabrication of the ACCI design (transradial socket).

  Hanger practitioners learn about new products and techniques at the vendor booths.

Endolite offered an introductory course on the Adaptive Knee presented by Alan Kercher, technical service and education manager for Endolite, and Lanny Wiggins, general manager of CaTech hydraulic knee controls, also from Endolite. With the aid of microprocessor controls, the unit is able to differentiate between cadence variation speed, slopes, stairs, standing and stumble recovery, then give exactly the amount of support that the individual requires for that situation.

The popular course Hands on Foot: Management of the Neuropathic Limb by Nancy Elftman, CO, CPed, Joan Conlan, LVN, CPed, and Richard Schnaittacher, CPed, was a success again this year. Basic principles in diabetic foot care, key pedorthic goals and patient evaluation were discussed in depth.

Other courses included: The Boston Brace Course by Thomas Colburn, CO, FAAOP; Spine Trauma Management by Kaia Halvorson, CPO; Stance Control Orthotics-Polio/Post Polio by Michael Leach, CPO and Kelly Clark, CO, and Advanced Casting Techniques for Upper and Lower Extremity Orthoses by Peter Graf, DPM, and Richard Stess, DPM.

Exceptional Individuals

A few Hanger patients who continue to motivate and inspire others with their courage, perseverance and inner strength participated in the symposium and assisted in the classes. They included:

  • Sixteen-year old Shane Coldwell, bilateral transfemoral amputee, champion wheelchair racer
  • John Siciliano, actor, 100-meter medal winner at the 2000 Endeavor Games, member of 1996 United States Paralympic Games, transfemoral amputee
  • Sixteen-year old Cameron Clapp, swimmer, runner and 100-meter recipient at 2000 Endeavor Games, bilateral transfemoral and above-elbow amputee
  • Lindsay Thomas, bilateral transtibial amputee, cyclist and track athlete
  • Pete Brockett, quarter midget racecar driver, transfemoral amputee, swing dancer

Lifetime Achievement Award

The annual Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Yeongchi Wu, MD. Wu was given the award for his international humanitarian efforts and brilliant innovations.

To succeed and maintain the highest level of achievement, risk, originality and virtuosity are crucial components for any individual or business.

“He’s worked hard in bringing quality prosthetics to third world countries,” said Kevin Carroll, MS, CP, FAAOP, vice president of prosthetics for Hanger. “He has put together tremendously talented, high caliber teams to help him further his mission and meet his expectations and goals.”

Carroll said Wu spends time in developing countries using available resources to make quality, inexpensive prosthetic devices for the local people.

  Cameron Clapp and Shane Coldwell are sponsored by Hanger.

“I am surprised and honored to be recognized,” Wu told O&P Business News. “We are trying to improve quality and productivity and I believe everything can be cheaper, better and faster. We will continue to do creative research and development and disseminate technology to developing countries.”

Risk and Originality

Peter Vidmar, the highest scoring American gymnast in American history, addressed practitioners and associates at the chairman’s dinner. Vidmar’s life and work is based on the premise that excellence is not a destination, but a never-ending journey.

To succeed and maintain the highest level of achievement, risk, originality and virtuosity are crucial components for any individual or business. Vidmar said the Olympic athletes are the best in the world, but what gets any individual or leader in business such as Hanger to the top — or the gold — is striving for that extra tenth of a point. For instance, Vidmar said when he went to practice every day, he would stay 15 minutes later than everyone else. Even though it was only 15 minutes, at the end of the year, it added up to two months extra practice.

Back by popular demand, the sensational Elvis impersonator Ray Guillemette, Jr., transfemoral amputee and C-Leg wearer, delighted the audience, recreating the late entertainer’s persona to a tee. Also, Brockett and his wife Debra graced the dance floor with their stylish and sophisticated swing dancing.— by Rachel Kelley

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