Working in Clark County: Mark Sauser, prosthetist and orthotist

By Mary Ricks, Columbian news assistant

Published:

 

WORKING IN CLARK COUNTY

Working in Clark County, a brief profile of interesting Clark County business owners or a worker in the public, private, or nonprofit sector. Send ideas to Mary Ricks: mary.ricks@columbian.com; fax 360-735-4598; phone 360-735-4550.

Working with people who are missing limbs, Mark Sauser always faces a problem he hasn't seen before. But he doesn't like to say "We can't do anything," so he usually finds a solution. The reward is great. When a person who's been confined to a wheelchair can walk with a new leg, "they are an entirely different person. … They are so proud."

Name: Mark Sauser.

Job/employer: Evergreen Prosthetics and Orthotics. There are two locations in Vancouver and several in Oregon.

Website:www.evergreenprostheticsandorthotics.com.

Age: 35.

Education/professional background: After I earned my degree in biology from Walla Walla College. I worked in Portland for two years as a technician building custom braces and prosthetic legs using all raw materials. I received a bachelor of science degree in orthotics and prosthetics from the Washington Medical Center Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Division of Prosthetics and Orthotics in 2006. After completing a two-year residency in Spokane, I stayed on for a few more years before coming to Evergreen three years ago. I first worked at the Evergreen office in Hillsboro, Ore., and two years ago I became the managing practitioner at the Vancouver offices.

Definition: Orthotics is bracing a body part and prosthetics is replacing a body part. I am certified in both by The American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics.

Residence: Hockinson.

One word to describe yourself: Caring. We don't like to be called a doctor's office. We see patients multiple times during their life. Our younger patients are always growing and new amputees' limbs change shape all the time. We are involved with a patient for a lifetime. Because we know our patients well, like family members, we can tell when they are having good days or bad days.

Most rewarding part of job: The most rewarding for me is definitely the first time I get to see a person walk into our office. Most of our patients are going through the process of losing a leg. They might have been stuck in a wheelchair for a long time and we have always seen them in a wheelchair. They are an entirely different person when they can walk in. They are so proud.

Most challenging part of job: I see people in all stages. I consult with patients who are going through the emotional process of losing a limb or with parents whose child is losing a limb. We work with veterans often but most people lose limbs because of diabetes. These are life-changing events. I am privileged to help people get through these hard times.

Personal/business philosophy: I don't like to say "We can't do anything." I like to run the office by making things happen. The neat thing is, I can usually fabricate what is needed, and that is a real fun part of the job. There is always a problem you haven't seen before. No stump is the same, there is no small, medium or large that fits everyone. You are creating things on a daily basis.

Something you would like to do over: There is nothing I would do over. I love to come to work and I couldn't do anything else.

Best feature of my Vancouver/Clark County community: I like the people here. My patients are friendly. Clark County has a different feel than Portland or Hillsboro. I work with doctors of all kinds and we have some awesome doctors in the area.

Favorite restaurant/pub/coffee shop/store: I like Chipotle.

Hobbies: I have three kids and I am busy with them. I like riding road and mountain bikes, and my motorcycle.

Favorite travel destination: My brothers and I, along with our dad, try to go to Moab, Utah, and ride motorcycles every year.

One thing you want to do this year: I would like to take my kids on a road trip and visit a lot of national parks.

Person you'd most like to meet: I can't think of anyone I look up to more than my dad. He is a retired radiologist and professor emeritus at Oregon Health & Science University.

Video of fabrication of foot brace:www.evergreenprostheticsandorthotics.com/evergreen-orthotics/afo-fabrication-video.