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‘Every case is different’: 39 years as an orthotics tech

Posted: 5:55 PM, Jun 26, 2019
Updated: 2019-06-27 09:10:32-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital has been working since 1891 to help people regain their ability to thrive.

Today, their Orthotic and Prosthetic Department churns out custom devices made to help those either missing a limb or living with limited mobility in parts of their body.  Every device is created uniquely.

Patrick Dorgan, Certified Orthotic Assistant at Mary Free Bed, tells FOX 17, “Every case is different. Of course we are not alike, so we are always brainstorming and creating something that will best fit the patient’s needs.”

Dorgan started working at Mary Free Bed in 1975 at the age of 17.  He began his career there in the laundry room. Just five years after starting there, he made his way into the orthotics department.  By 1984 he was a certified orthotics tech.

He has moved up the ranks without a college education.

"Nothing straightforward in this profession ... everyone’s got a different body, a different deformity, a different neurological need," Dorgan says. After all these years, he still has to come up with new approaches to his work on a daily basis.