All Prosthetics Are Local
Shops and fitters around Boston have found that they, too, benefit from the areaâ€™s prosthetic technology boom.
Of the 16 victims who lost limbs in the Boston Marathon bombings, half have been fit for artificial limbs by family-owned United Prosthetics, an enterprise run for the past 99 years by the Martino family of Dorchester. Unitedâ€™s centennial, this April, will coincide with the anniversary of the marathon blasts. â€śThe marathon is a huge tragedy,â€ť says business manager Chris Martino. Among the victims whom the business fitted is seven-year-old Jane Richard, of Dorchester, whose parents were also hurt and whose brother, Martin, was killed. â€śFor us,â€ť Martino says, â€śitâ€™s something we see daily. Everybody who comes through this door has lost a limb in some manner.â€ť
Martino says that, despite being an old-school family business, United works hard to keep up with the latest innovationsâ€”many of which come from nearbyâ€”so that the newest technology can be passed along to customers. â€śBeing in the epicenter of medicine and rehab hospitals and all the other hospitals doing these surgeriesâ€”that is beneficial to us,â€ť he says.
Matt Albuquerque, the president of Next Step Bionics & Prosthetics, which has outposts in Newton, Warwick, Rhode Island, and Manchester, New Hampshire (and has fit six marathon victims), takes it a step further. â€śWeâ€™re around the innovations,â€ť he says. â€śBecause of our proximity, weâ€™re in a position to try the technology knowing that weâ€™re very close for adjustments, support, follow-up, and even input.â€ť So if a patient wants to try out a BiOM ankle before committing to it, itâ€™s easy to cruise into the companyâ€™s headquarters in Bedford and take a test run. Or if someone has a question about his new ankle, itâ€™s possible to consult BiOMâ€™s engineers on site. For that reason, Albuquerque says, his shop was one of the first to offer the breakthrough ankle: â€śI donâ€™t know how it all ended up here, but it certainly has in a big way.â€ť
Source URL: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/health/article/2013/11/26/prosthetics-research-boston-united-prosthetics-next-step-bionics/