Doug Turner, OTR, CP, BOCO
Doug Turner began a career in O&P more than 20 years ago. In 2006, he opened his practice—Western Montana Orthotics & Prosthetics (WMOP), Missoula—where he is the lead clinician.
That Turner chose a career in O&P is a natural extension of personal circumstances, he says. In 1978, when he was ten years old, Turner underwent a transfemoral amputation of his left leg due to a tibial sarcoma, and because he wore so many different prostheses as a kid, he "pretty much grew up in an O&P practice." He counts wooden exoskeletal legs, the Freedom Innovations Plié knee, and the Ottobock C-Leg among the various prostheses he has worn.
Turner says that being an amputee for almost 35 years gives him a distinct advantage to be able to connect on a more personal level with a new amputee. "Not a single day goes by that I don't roll up my pant leg and show someone my prosthesis," he says. "The ability to share this is invaluable. The patient immediately knows, literally and figuratively, that I have been in the same chair that they find themselves in now. This commonality seems to put people at ease, allowing them to face their new unknowns with a little more confidence."
- What has motivated you in your professional pursuits?
- How has your career progressed?
- Please describe your approach to patient care.
- What advice would you give to someone just entering the O&P profession or starting his or her own business?
- What are your professional goals?
My motivation is simple. I enter into an agreement with all of my patients that I will provide them with a service and a device that will make their daily life better. I owe them my best effort.
My career has had clinical as well as geographical influences. I have had the good fortune of practicing in six states, and ultimately decided to make Montana home. Practice styles and techniques vary greatly around the country, and I have been able to integrate many ideas into my style of practice. Having practiced in urban as well as rural settings throughout the United States, I have been able to create my own modification and fitting styles. A vertical shock-reducing pylon coupled with a suction socket may work fine in Las Vegas, Nevada, whereas an exoskeletal SACH foot with a suspension strap is a better choice for rural Northern Arizona. Montana has a variety of terrains and demographics. The versatility to fit a Touch Bionics i-limb and an exoskeletal transtibial prosthesis in the same day is paramount.
During the initial evaluation with a patient, I have a frank discussion about his or her goals and/or aspirations regarding wearing a custom device. I follow that up with service and a device that meets or exceeds those established goals.
Keep apprised of the ever-changing payer-source arena, as well as ever-advancing technologies. Don't ever forget that we are a service-oriented profession that produces custom devices.
Continue to build and maintain a well-respected local practice that is considered the best resource for O&P care and knowledge in western Montana.
I am motivated and driven by a staunch unwillingness to accept defeat.