Standing Against All Odds: Albertson-Based Progressive O&P Celebrates 20 Years

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A closer look inside Progressive O&P’s on-site fabrication lab where practitioners cast and mold prosthetics. (Photo by Anthony Murray)

A private practice that’s raised the bar when it comes to patient care is now raising a glass to 20 years in business.

This past month marked a milestone for Progressive Orthotics and Prosthetics in Albertson, giving them a good reason to celebrate. Despite challenges, business partners and friends Sal Martella and Dan Bastian have continued to push ahead. Their commitment to restore mobility and hope to the people that come through their doors is as strong as ever.

“I’m excited we made it this far,” Bastian said. “We had no intention of becoming such a big company, but it’s rewarding to see how many lives we’ve changed for the better.”

As an amputee himself, Bastian understands what his patients go through when they walk through the facility’s door. At only 15 years old, Bastian was diagnosed with osteogenic sarcoma in his right leg. After countless unsuccessful surgeries to repair the damaged bone and musculature, Bastian made the decision to have his right leg amputated six inches below his hip. He has walked with a prosthesis ever since.

Progressive O&P has an on-site laboratory where the facility’s certified practitioners supervise every aspect of the fabrication and design of patient’s prosthetics and orthotics. Everything at Progressive O&P is handmade to suit each patient’s individual needs.
Hundreds of once wheelchair-bound patients are now walking, running and living active lifestyles after coming to Progressive O&P, including Bob Messina, who was told by previous doctors that he would never walk again.

“When I first came to Progressive O&P, Bastian asked why I was still in my wheelchair. I replied, ‘What am I Peter Pan? Am I going to fly around?’ Bastian knew I was capable of more and I started to believe it too. He equipped me with the prosthesis that helped me walk again,” Messina said.

Prior to coming to Progressive O&P, many patients have experienced severe trauma and been beaten down by the healthcare system. Part of the recovery process is about taking their lives back.

“Once you tell them that they can get their freedom back and then they take their first few steps, it doesn’t get any better than that,” Bastian explained.

But the recovery process is more than just a physical effort.

“It’s not about just getting by; it’s about changing the mindset of these patients,” Bastian said. “Hope is the big thing I can bring to them.”

That’s exactly what Bastian and the Progressive O&P team brought to Messina.
“They helped restore my confidence,” Messina explained. “When I met Bastian I knew things were going to get better.”

The facility attracts patients from across Long Island and even internationally as well, with one patient coming as far away as India.

For veterans who have lost limbs from war, Progressive O&P is also a VA certified facility and has a working relationship with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. According to the most recent statistic report from the Amputee Coalition of America, 1,588 military personnel lost a limb as result of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Progressive O&P has two areas made specifically for walking observation where patients’ prosthetics and orthotics are aligned or adjusted so they can walk as smoothly as possible. For advanced prosthesis users—in the facility’s gait area—there are ramps and practice stairs that allow patients to hone in their ascending and descending skills.

Helping people like Messina is why Bastian and Martella went into business in the first place. And although they continue to integrate cutting edge technology into their practice, they also continue to go back to what makes them unique and their practice great, which is traditional family values and excellent patient care. This means they don’t lose patients, but only gain family and friends.

“Our patients become our family,” Bastian said. “We listen to them and what they’re going through; it takes time, but we take the time.”

Being an amputee is costly however. Lifetime healthcare costs for people with limb loss is nearly double compared to people living without limb loss. Sometimes health insurance doesn’t even cover the cost of a prosthetic. Luckily, people can help amputees by donating to various nonprofit organizations that specialize in limb loss.

People can make donations to the Amputee Coalition and its youth camp for children and teens who live with limb loss, the Wounded Warrior Project for veterans, Limbs For Life Foundation and the Lost Limbs Foundation.

For more information on Progressive O&P, visit www.progoandp.com.

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