Josh Lorimer, CPA

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Josh Lorimer addresses school children

In February, Josh Lorimer, CPA, Idaho Orthotic and Prosthetic Services, Meridian, received some media attention after he visited a local elementary school to talk about prosthetic legs and how to accept people's differences. In one news photograph, Lorimer, who has a right transtibial amputation, fields questions from the group of students, many of whom have their hands raised. During that visit, he also showed off his current prosthesis, which has a wireless Bluetooth speaker built into the socket and is connected to his iPhone. Sound-activated LED lights are laminated into the socket that turn on and off to the rhythm of the music. "I am fluent in American Sign Language and have many deaf friends," he said. "I wanted them to be able to appreciate the music-and the best way to do this is with the sound-activated lights."

1. How did your school visit come about?

My wife met a woman whose nine-year-old daughter underwent an amputation a few years ago. When my three daughters were in school, I made presentations to their classes each year to teach students about prosthetics. My goal has always been to make people feel comfortable about being around amputees, showing them that we are no different and can do anything an able-bodied person can do. The girl's mom thought that would be helpful for her daughter, so my wife arranged for me to speak to the entire third-grade class. The students and I discussed how different everyone is and how our differences make us beautiful. Accepting those differences is an important lesson in life.

2. How did you become involved with O&P?

When I was a year old I had my leg amputated due to a birth defect. I have been around prosthetics all of my life. I have taken orthotics courses in addition to being a certified prosthetic assistant.

3. Please describe what your work entails.

I modify all the casts for the foot orthotics, pull the material, and grind them. My other responsibilities include meeting new amputees, answering their questions, explaining what they can expect, and trying to put them at ease. I also assist in adjusting prosthetic limbs and delivering orthotic braces from time to time. Seeing someone come in hopeless or discouraged, and watching that feeling change to a positive outlook after we are able to help is an awesome feeling. That is what keeps me going in this line of work.

4. What do you see in the future for O&P?

To be perfectly honest, the future of our industry concerns me. The insurance industry is making it difficult for amputees to get top-of-the-line componentry. O&P facilities are struggling to provide the best devices available and to convince insurance companies to pay for them.

5. What advice would you give to someone entering the O&P profession?

If you are just entering this profession, experience is the best teacher. Study other people who have been doing this. Learn from their experience. Study their techniques. There is more than one way to build a prosthetic limb or an orthotic brace. Don't get set in your ways, but be willing to continue to learn and adapt.

Take the time to listen to your patients' feelings, concerns, and needs. We can't treat all of their problems, but listening can go a long way.