On a recent Monday afternoon, Harmony was meeting with practitioner George Villarruel for her final fitting for the new prosthesis she will wear.
Harmony was born as a congenital right trans radial amputee. Now that she was getting older, her parents wanted to give her an opportunity for bi manual function.
Laura Kendall (left), Harmony (right) without devices and wearing their prosthesis.
Over about 5 visits, George has been working with Harmony for fittings and preparing her for some of the challenges when adapting to a prosthesis. In fact, George thought it could be helpful to Harmony and her parents to speak with someone who has lived as an amputee since birth. Laura Kendall, a long-time congenital left trans radial patient, came to the office to meet the family. Harmony’s parents were thrilled to connect with someone who really understood their daughter’s challenges – and Laura had such a happy, positive attitude that reinforces with Harmony that life is not about what you don’t have, it is about what you can achieve.
When treating pediatric prosthetic patients, working with the family ensures patient success.
Colin’s Mom expressed her thanks: “It always seemed that George presented a wealth of information regarding the options for my son’s care — with the goal of helping my husband and I decide what would be best for our son as well as practical for our lifestyle.” Maria Haugseth, Sacramento, CA; Colin’s Mom
Colin needed to be fit for his first prosthesis. His long-term treatment plan was developed with his team of caregivers and his mom. Colin was treated by George Villarruel, one of our pediatric and upper extremity prosthetic specialist practitioners. He customized the prosthesis and educated Colin and his mom over a period of about a year during treatment.
Colin’s Mom was with him every step of the way and she deserves a lot of credit for her positive outlook and supportive encouragement. Over the many visits and with a lot of hard work, Colin is now successfully doing more activities with his new arm prosthesis and is not letting anything hold him back.
Colin is ecstatic to be riding his bike!
With the support of his family, and a prosthetic device from Collier O and P, Colin is ready to tackle his next goal.
Extensive experience working with pediatric patients
Veterans are welcome to come for a consultation about problems or challenges with their current prosthesis
Our bilingual practitioners can converse with patients in their chosen language
Our lead prosthetist spent many years with Shriners Hospitals for Children. The volume of patients seen in this inpatient setting established him as a specialist in upper and lower extremity prosthetic care for children and their growing needs. Our philosophy is that we want to treat the family first, and then the patient will have the understanding and guidance they need to be self-reliant.
Collier Orthotics and Prosthetics has offices in Sacramento and the Bay Area Region. Please call 916-979-9729 and we can answer your questions and set an appointment at the location most convenient for you.
Operation Rainbow provides life-changing medical care to more than 80,000 children and young adults, including more than 18,000 surgeries in 19 developing countries.
Millions around the world live everyday with the pain caused by congenital birth defects and accidents. In the poverty-stricken countries where many of these children live, public healthcare is lacking and families are too poor to address illness or injury as it arises, and they have given thousands of patients the opportunity for a better life.
Generous donors and volunteers are key in helping us change their lives for the better. Last year, Operation Rainbow performed more than 460 free surgeries and treated more than 6,500 other patients for orthopedic and other medical conditions not requiring surgery. The Operation Rainbow team completed 11 medical missions to communities in Honduras, Mexico, Guatemala, Ecuador, Haiti and the West Bank. Part of their mission is to educate local health professionals to encourage medical self-sufficiency.
All team members are volunteers who participate without compensation on their own time. Without the generous donation of supplies from vendors and assistance from friends and family they couldn’t do this work. And there is so much work to do.
You can help educate others about Operation Rainbow by sharing this message, donating or volunteering.
Jon Boone works at Roseville Kaiser orthopedic department as The Senior Orthopedic Technician. He has referred patients to Collier for many years and we have donated orthopedic bracing supplies to the Operation Rainbow since 2009.
“Other than my first mission that was ‘eye opening ‘, the most memorable was our mission to Haiti following the earthquake in 2010. Many children had lost everything… their homes and families and still they would sing songs and help each other as they recovered from injuries. Being able to take my skills and apply it helping those less fortunate makes all the time and expense worthwhile,” says Boone.
Jon’s first mission was to Ecuador in 2009. Since then, he has made 16 missions to Ecuador, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Mexico. His next mission is to Honduras.
From her first meeting with Practitioner Brian Lee, Sandra Thomas was eager to be able to reach a new activity level.
After being in a wheelchair for almost 5 years, Sandra wants to walk without any assistive devices or orthoses. Sandra’s biggest challenge has been to overcome her unstable gait due to a spinal cord injury. She has been working with Brian Lee for the last 6 months to learn and adapt to her new device.
Patient Care Solution: By applying the reciprocating gait orthosis, Brian was able to give Sandra the stability to stand and transfer the strength and momentum of her upper body to her legs. She can now ambulate and feels the sensation of lower extremity muscle contraction. She is very hopeful to continue to progress toward independent ambulation.
As you can see by the video, Sandra Thomas is determined and knows it will not be easy – our reward is to see how excited and grateful she is to receive this device that will help her toward her goal.
Sophia’s mother was concerned that Sophia always slouched severely and seemed to be in pain. She also always looked down, and could not make eye contact with those around her.
Practitioner Brian Lee cast Sophia sitting upright to maintain lumbar and kyphotic curves in the ideal position, and with appropriate scapular adduction and shoulder retraction. Secondarily, the goal was to maintain her cervical spine in extension.
Over the last 6 months, Mom has reported that Sophia seems happier, and is able to look up and see the world around her and, most importantly, make eye contact.
SCI Active Network is a positive network that connects Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) survivors and their families through peer mentoring, and empowers an active lifestyle towards mobility, independence, and a higher quality of life.
Troy is a spinal cord injury survivor and Founder/ CEO of SCI Active Network – a community for spinal cord injury survivors. They welcome survivors AND their families to join and participate so they can network, learn and be supportive of their loved one – and their loved one can connect to those with similar life challenges.
A Collier patient since 2004, Troy received an RGO through Kaiser Rehabilitation in Vallejo. Troy has been using his RGO therapeutically with a walker, as well as at home and during public demonstrations. Troy started mentoring patients and therapists on how RGO’s work, and he saw a real need for peers to connect to share valuable information and encouragement.
Since 2015, Troy has worked to connect, support and encourage SCI survivors to be active in living life. Spinal Cord Injury Active Network has trained peer mentors to visit, speak and teach classes at Northern California Rehabilitation Centers and community events in the Bay Area.
SCI Active Network also hosts over a dozen family-inclusive activities a year at different locations throughout Northern California, plus provide a monthly support network meeting in Solano County, CA.
One of the most important missions for founder Troy Plunkett is the Share-A-Chair program. Donated lightweight wheelchairs are provided to survivors in need to increase their mobility, independence, and quality of life.
Spinal Cord Injury Active Network is a 501(c)(3) organization, and donations are tax-deductible. You can donate, volunteer or participate by visiting their website at sciactivenetwork.org.
SCI Active Network
P.O. Box 3434
Vallejo, CA 94590
Andre Christian, father of a boy who received a prosthetic made by J.R. Brandt at our Sacramento location, reached out to us with an update about his son’s achievements.
This photo was taken after Stephen pushed his wheelchair for 15 miles on the American River Bike Trail. Stephen is a Warrior!
“Our son Stephen has been the beneficiary of a prosthetic made by J.R. in your Sacramento facility and was under his care for a couple of years. Last year Stephen joined a wheelchair basketball program and it was truly life changing for him. The friendships, flying to tournaments, discipline from weekly training, learning to overcoming challenges, independence, working as a team and the increase in his confidence was truly remarkable.”
Do you know someone in the greater Sacramento area who wants to experience the many benefits and FUN of our wheelchair basketball program? Please share this post.
Christian Rodriguez with the Sacramento Royals, works to create opportunities for physically challenged persons. The JV Team practices at the Sacramento YMCA (downtown on W), and there is a Recreational Team which competes through the Northern California Recreational League. He can be reached at 916-228-1755 or visit sacroyals.com.
Mr. Cutchlow came to see Collier Practitioner Ray Diaz for a pair of new braces, and expressed frustration with his instability due to his Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.
Upon evaluation, Ray noticed the patient had more than just weak inverters/evertors. He also had no plantar flexion and dorsiflexion strength.
Prior to the Phat braces he was using a walking aide, now he’s not. As you can see in the video, his gait is much more stable and his speed improved.
The previous AFOs (Arizona braces) were not picking up his foot, causing him to buckle and fall when ambulating.
Ray introduced the Phat braces to Mr. Cutchlow. These braces will provide the stance control and swing phase, and resolve the weak medial lateral ankle instability. The Arizona braces provided nothing for the absent plantar and dorsiflexion.
The day Mr. Cutchlow came back for delivery of his Phat braces he couldn’t believe the balance, stability, and confidence the braces were giving him.
Mr. Cutchlow has had two follow up visits. The first visit was to see how the braces are working for him. The second visit was a minor adjustment. It feels very rewarding to know Mr. Cutchlow’s goals were achieved and that it also built up his confidence to do more enjoyable things with his grandkids.
Mikhaila Rutherford is 26 years old and, and with her new prosthesis, she is more ambulatory and ready to enjoy her new career in nursing without the hassles and limitations of her old and worn out prosthetic device.
Four years ago, Mikhaila came to our lead prosthetic practitioner with some challenges:
She would be challenging to fit due to multiple surgeries to resolve her subluxating patella (knee cap).
A short trans tibial residual limb.
Her current foot did not allow for any flexibility when walking on slopes of any kind.
George was able to get approval through the insurance for the best possible device for Mickhaila. Watch the video to see how Mickhaila demonstrates her new prosthesis with an articulating ankle.
She was fit with an Alps AKDT locking liner and Patellar Tendon Bearing Supra Patellar Supra Condylar (PTB SCSP) socket design to help stabilize her knee in the medial lateral plane. For her last fitting, she was provided a foot with an articulating hydraulic ankle which can accommodate going up and down sloped terrain.
Mickhaila can now get back to daily living with a lot more mobility when hiking and being outdoors. We look forward to hearing about her new career as a nurse when she comes back for a check up.
Mickhaila has been a patient of George Villarruel at Collier O and P for the last 4 years. If you would like to see more of our patient success stories, visit our patient outcomes page.
Rick Todd COF, managing partner at Collier Orthotics & Prosthetics, has many great things to say about JR when interviewed by BOC, and the positive impact he had on their growing business.
Why does JR deserve this award?
Because he is knowledgeable in Orthotics and Prosthetics, BOC accreditation standards, Medicare standards and his outstanding service with patients. He has the ability to give of himself and teach in the area of Orthotics and Prosthetics as well as everyday life. JR has the ability to communicate with physicians and physical therapists on difficult cases. He works for the overall interest of the business and outcome as a whole, not income alone. Follow up is assured in all of the above areas. JR is an amazing family man and great friend, even if I didn’t always want to hear what he had to say.
How did you meet JR, and what has been the impact of his service throughout your career?
I originally met JR in 1992 when I was a Bledsoe sales representative in Northern California. JR ran the Shriners Orthotic and Prosthetic practice in both San Francisco and then in Sacramento. When dealing with JR in regards to product purchases he was very respectful of my position even though I was just a salesman peddling products to Shriners. He always treated me with the utmost respect and every time I saw him he had some funny story to tell me, as well he was full of information and willing to teach.
I did not see JR for many years except at an occasional trade show. When I would bump into him it was just like I had seen him in the past. He was friendly, great to talk with and like a long lost friend and always full of knowledge.
In 2012 I was in the midst of growing my first orthotic practice. I started to work with Jim Hewlett in regards to accreditation through BOC and applying for my first Medicare license. At that time I found out that JR was working with BOC as well as Jim Hewlett and doing site surveys. We rekindled our relationship. Jim let me know that JR was interested in getting back to seeing patients again, and that he would like to do patient care. I then hired JR as the director of Orthotics for my company.
JR was an open book and not only was he a fantastic practitioner; he is very accomplished in our field.
Watch the presentation, JR says Thank You.
He was helpful in all the Medicare and accreditation rules, and if he didn’t have the answer he has a relationship with someone who did. He was also very helpful in the setup of our second Orthotic and Prosthetic facility. He understood from his Shriner days, the function of utilizing space in a manufacturing area. He was also helpful in finding the appropriate products and tools to set up a state of the art manufacturing facility. In the early days of this new business he had the ability to streamline systems, bring employees together, and communicate with physicians about patients and product philosophy, as well as the biomechanics that went along with this. JR has the ability and interest to get the best outcome of all situations, and give of himself as a mentor and a teacher to my staff.
Not a day goes by without thinking how he is doing in his present situation. JR was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia on September 4th 2016 and underwent seven rounds of intense chemotherapy. He was a candidate for a Bone Marrow Transplant at Stanford University Hospital and after an exhausting international search a 10/10 donor was located. On March 30th JR received his transplant and after 100 days of living at Stanford he is finally home recovering and in remission. He still has a long road to go in recovering his blood counts, energy and general wellbeing but he is as always in good spirits and we at Collier continue to wish him and his family well.
His smile and jovialness is missed by all at Collier Orthotics and Prosthetics and we hope to be able to see him soon.