Bangor Pediatric Surgeon Builds Special Treatment Tool When Supply Chain Fails
They say "necessity is the mother of invention", and while he may not have invented the tool, one Bangor pediatric orthopedic surgeon went above and beyond to make sure that a necessary piece of equipment, that is used to help his littlest patients, was available to them...by building it himself.
Let me stop for a moment and give you some context, and perhaps fangirl for a quick second.
Meet Dr. William Bassett, Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center's newest pediatric orthopedic surgeon.
I was introduced to Dr. Basset last fall when my son Noah broke his wrist at a local playground in October.
At the end of each interaction and appointment we had with Dr. Bassett, I was struck with just how dialed-in he was when it came to patient care. He thoughtfully considered each challenge and issue that came up during my son's recovery process, always looking for a way to solve the problem in a way that was best for my boy.
This is why I was not shocked when I heard what he'd recently done to ensure that one of his patients got exactly the care they needed, despite not having the tools on hand to treat the child.
According to the folks at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center, Dr. Bassett had some patients come in with infantile scoliosis. Being one of the only pediatric ortho surgeons in the state, Dr. Bassett wanted to be able to treat patients with this diagnosis locally, rather than have to send them elsewhere, like Boston. So he ordered a Mehta table, which is used to help treat babies born with scoliosis. It's a very specialized tool designed to help straighten the spines of these little ones through a series of casts.
However, he was told it was on back order (as we've all become accustomed to hearing since the days of Covid-19-related supply chain issues.) But for Dr. Bassett, that answer wasn't going to cut it, not when he had tiny babies to help heal.
So, according to Northern Light EMMC, Dr. Bassett took matters into his own hands, literally, and built one himself.
"Dr. Bassett and the pediatric orthopedic team researched how Mehta tables are made and created a plan. They reached out to a vendor who sells orthopedic traction materials and secured parts that would provide patient stabilization and support. Dr. Bassett connected with operating room leaders and the Clinical Engineering Department to review his work and received approval all around; it was deemed safe for patient care."
Having experienced first-hand just how dedicated Dr. Bassett is to ensuring his patients get the help they need to heal, I can't say I'm surprised he did this. This lines up with what I've come to know as his philosophy of treatment.
“Ensuring patients receive this treatment quickly after diagnosis means we can effectively cure infants of their spine curvature over a series of months,” Dr. Bassett says. “We were able to provide this specialized treatment quickly and locally, without sending this family to Boston for care. It’s made a huge difference for them, and that feels good.”
Thinking outside the box and going the extra mile for his patients; In this mom's humble opinion, we're lucky to have a doc like him in the area.
Good looking out, sir. Keep up the great work!