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in O&P Patient Care

Patient Stories - Mike

  • NAME: Mike Garone
  • AGE: 19
  • LOCATION: Clintondale, NY
  • FAMILY: Parents Mike and Cathy and sister Alycia
  • OCCUPATION: Lab technician
  • CLINIC: Prosthetic & Orthotic Associates, Inc., Kingston, NY
  • PRODUCT: C-Leg, above-knee/transfemoral prosthesis
  • CLINICIAN: Erik Tompkins, CP, BOCO

Case History

“If prostheses were like cars, the C-Leg would be like the fastest, nicest car.”

That analogy, by then-17-year-old Michael Garone to The O&P Edge magazine, speaks volumes about the young man’s personality. He likes action, and nothing can slow him down, not even a life-threatening motocross accident in 2008 that severed his right leg above the knee, broke his jaw in three places, broke all his top teeth and saw him lose nearly half the blood in his body.

"When it comes to hunting, walking in the woods, everyday activities, there’s nothing that can beat [the C-Leg]"

This young man, who thrived on fishing and hunting, jet-skiing, baseball, hockey and his beloved motocross, didn’t let his injury slow him down. Doctors anticipated a two-month hospital stay; Mike went home after two weeks. After five surgeries to his jaw and leg and a full month of being unable to use his arms, Mike was still further ahead in his recovery than anyone had expected, thanks in large part to his determination and positive attitude.

Literally the day after he was fitted with his first prosthesis, he was back doing what he loves, hunting in the Adirondacks, climbing up 20 feet unassisted to the hunting stand. He’s since resumed all of the activities he enjoyed before his accident.

Mike was initially fitted with a Total Knee from Ossur, which was donated by the Shriners. At first, Mike found it challenging to get used to wearing a prosthesis.

“It was hard at first to get used to it – weird, different,” said Mike. Mike worked with prosthetist Erik Tompkins of Prosthetic & Orthotic Associates to consider the various products that might best suit Mike and support his active lifestyle.

Ossur’s Mauch Knee was a rugged solution that could be used by Mike to pursue high-impact activities, especially those that involved the water, like boating or jet-skiing. For day-to-day living, however, Erik’s experience, supported by over 10 years of clinical studies, suggested that a microprocessor-controlled hydraulic knee – the C-Leg from Otto Bock – would be better for Mike.

“Because Mike is a determined young man, one who is wise beyond his years, he has been an ideal patient because he is eager to participate in his recovery and to find the best solution for his lifestyle,” said Erik. “The C-Leg provides the best scenario for Mike because he can walk on it without thinking about using it. With other prostheses, patients have to be vigilant about how they walk, where they place their foot on the ground, how to use the stairs. With the C-Leg, the person doesn’t have to think about leg position and instead can just walk.

“This makes a big difference to a patient’s quality of life because they can instead just live their life instead of having to look at the ground and concentrate on the action of walking, restricting their ability to carry on conversations while walking with others, for example.”

The C-Leg is the world’s first microprocessor-controlled knee and is used by over 35,000 wearers worldwide. Its intelligent design instantly recognizes the walking phase of the user and adjusts automatically, in real time, resulting in a natural gait.

“When it comes to hunting, walking in the woods, everyday activities, there’s nothing that can beat it,” said Mike. “With other legs, I found that if I put weight on it the wrong way, I would fall. But the C-Leg is awesome. I can do pretty much everything.”

POA assisted Mike with not only the clinical side of his care, but also the financial.

About Prosthetic &
Orthotic Associates

For over 20 years, Prosthetic & Orthotic Associates (POA) has provided prosthetic and orthotic rehabilitation to residents of the Hudson Valley and Catskill Mountain region, in addition to patients from around the world, who are in need of the company’s unique combination of functional and aesthetic prosthetic restoration.

Thomas Passero, CP, formed POA in 1989 in Middletown, New York, where it opened its first clinic and where the company’s headquarters remain. Currently, the company has clinical offices in Middletown, Monticello, Kingston and Poughkeepsie and is anticipating opening clinics in Albany and NYC in 2011. Operated by American Board Certified staff with over 100 years of combined experience, POA’s clinical team offers comprehensive services in the complete spectrum of prosthetic rehabilitation.

“As with all POA patients, our clinical and administrative team worked with Mike to help him to reach his full potential, and return to the active life he was living prior to his injury,” said Erik. “Our staff works with others in the rehab team to first identify the technology needs of our patients, and to efficiently process the authorizations and claims so treatment is provided promptly and appropriately.

“It’s important to us that we treat everyone who comes through the door with dignity and respect; Mike recognized this about POA and it so touched him that he wanted to ‘pay it forward.’ Through his patient experience with POA, he’s developed a keen interest in the business of orthotics and prosthetics and is working part-time at our Middletown office as a lab technician.”

“I like the people at POA a lot,” said Mike. “I’m enjoying my work, making sockets, putting prosthetic legs together and helping people like me. I’d really like to become a practitioner someday.” With his determination of spirit, Mike could do anything he sets his mind to.

Erik Tompkins, CP, BOCO, has been working with POA since 1992, developing local amputee support groups and working at a national level with the Amputee Coalition of America and the Promoting Amputee Life Skills program