Tech Q&A with David Benedict
David Benedict, CTPO, is a technician in the Peabody, Mass., clinic. He fabricates braces, from pouring to modifying all the way to finishing and strapping, so practitioners have the quickest and most efficient fits possible. He's always available to drop what he's doing to assist with fits and adjustments when needed.
How long have you been with Boston O&P?
I’ve been at Boston O&P for about 3 years, but I was brought in from another company called Wall Prosthetics and Orthotics. I worked there for about 8 years 6 months as a full-blown fabricator/lab manager.
What made you decide to get into this field?
I actually came from a technical school focusing in carpentry. My recruiter brought this type of job to me and I’ve loved it ever since. Loving providing braces to children, to adults, and helping others are the things that keep me going and loving the field. There are constant innovations that I try and keep myself up to date on through articles—they amaze me and keep up the excitement of helping others.
What is a typical work day for you like?
I start the day normally in a clean environment starting with a quick tidy up and reorganization in case anything unexpected happens, like a slam of walk-ins or just complicated patients. I start looking at practitioners schedules from that day through the rest of the week to see the fabrication workload I may have and potential assistance I may need to give practitioners. Once organized, I start pouring, modifying, molding, machining, whatever becomes priority due to upcoming appointments and approvals. Sometimes I’m pulled into patient rooms to help solve problems or even just to observe.
What is your professional specialty?
I feel I have good communication skills with patients, parents, and coworkers, and knowledge of deformities and a good sense of how to resolve problems quickly with high quality and durability. I've been told constantly my fab has been top-notch and modifications are very custom-fit for appropriate corrections.
What is your favorite thing about your job?
My favorite thing about my job is helping others—that's my goal every day. I love the interaction and the feel of actually helping others meet their goals—from being able to walk to being able to do their favorite sports with the least amount of discomfort possible.
How has the work you do touched your life personally?
This field of work has made me thankful for the health I have and the knowledge I use to correctly position myself in weightlifting and martial arts.
What has been the most challenging technical project you’ve had while at Boston O&P?
There are always challenges in prosthetics and orthotics. In the technical aspect, I’ve had to pull adult KAFOs with soft foam liners single-handedly, which is harder than you may expect. That probably is the most challenging thing. Other than that, everything is based on knowledge and experience with materials.
What’s the best reaction you’ve ever had from a client / patient to one of your fabrications?
I’ve had patients ask me, “How do you even do this, this brace has actually made me feel 25% more stability than any brace has ever given me, thank you!” I had someone tell me, "This is the best leg I have ever gotten—it looks exactly like my other leg,” when talking about cosmetic covers. There have been others but I don’t always see the results due to not always being in with patients, but my practitioners always let me know their reactions.
What project or goal would you like to accomplish at Boston O&P?
My goal is to become a COA (Certified Orthotic Assistant). I’ve always wanted certifications and never knew how to get them until I joined this company. I started with my first certification as a CTPO and I’m going on for my CFo and then onto my COA . I’m sure there will be more goals to come about in the years but this is what I have at the moment.