Adaptive Prosthetics opens office in Waterford

David Gray talks with a prosthetics patient at the newly opened Adaptive Prosthetics on Wednesday, Nov.  22, 2017 in Waterford.  (Sarah Gordon/The Day)
David Gray talks with a prosthetics patient at the newly opened Adaptive Prosthetics on Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017 in Waterford. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)

Waterford — David Hewett has been running Adaptive Prosthetics & Orthotics since 1997, and one thing has remained constant.

"That feeling of getting somebody out of a wheelchair and up walking is still that same excitement as when I first saw it," he says.

While that hasn't changed, Hewett moved his business from one location in Glastonbury to another. He opened an office in Bozrah last year, which will be moving to Norwich in December. And on Nov. 6, Hewett opened an office in Waterford, at 567 Vauxhall St. unit 109.

The orthotist/prosthetist in the new location is David Gray, who Hewett met through a mutual friend.

Adaptive Prosthetics primarily provides custom artificial limbs and orthopedic bracing, Hewett explained. Most patients are diabetics, and it also treats the amputee population and trauma patients, ranging from pediatrics to geriatrics.

Prosthetic services include above-knee, below-knee, partial foot, partial hand, and myo-electric hand and elbow prostheses, while orthotic services include hip, knee, ankle, foot, wrist, hand and elbow bracing.

"Our industry is very much like choosing a dentist," Hewett said. "You have to come in for adjustments, refits. The body changes as we get older, gain or lose weight, and it's a relationship that's long-term."

He said the staff of Adaptive Prosthetics, which has nine employees across its three offices, therefore tries to hone in on individual needs and give patients long appointments.

Hewett previously worked for Pratt & Whitney but got laid off. His sister's work as a nurse in part got him interested in prosthetics, and he went back to school. He worked at Shriners Hospital for Children in Springfield, Mass., and started Adaptive Prosthetics part-time before leaving the hospital.

Gray, a Florida native, became interested in prosthetics after volunteering at a facility in Clearwater. He received his bachelor's degree in prosthetics and orthotics from St. Petersburg College before coming to this area to do his residency.

Gray, 36, worked for New England Orthotics and Prosthetic Systems, and was partner-manager of his own practice, before joining the Adaptive Prosthetics team.

Hewett said he chose Waterford as the new location because of accessibility to the highway, and because he can draw in Rhode Island patients. Gray said he has had patients come from as far as Maine.

Hewett would love for the new location to eventually outgrow its 1,100-square-foot office, which includes two fitting rooms and a lab.

The lab includes a grinding tool to smooth edges, anvils for hammering, a sewing machine and an air compressor. Gray explained that Adaptive Prosthetics outsources some of its fabrications but does all adjustments in-house.

Hewett cited the importance of CAD/CAM (computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing) technology that helps employees design and fabricate limbs or braces.

"Every case that comes through the door is different, and I enjoy that," he said. "I don't like doing the same thing every day."

David Gray works on a prosthetics for a patient at the newly opened Adaptive Prosthetics on Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017 in Waterford.  (Sarah Gordon/The Day)
David Gray works on a prosthetics for a patient at the newly opened Adaptive Prosthetics on Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017 in Waterford. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)

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