The Hutto father and son team is in the business of turning “disabilities into possibilities” by providing amputees with prosthetics that have cutting-edge technology and are specifically designed for their individual lifestyles.
Edward L. Hutto Sr. along with his son, Edward L. “E.J.” Hutto Jr., work together to provide state of the art prosthetic and orthotic services to LaGrange and surrounding areas. The attention and care that they offer each of their patients make it possible for them to restore hope along with the missing limb or limbs.
“When a person loses an arm or leg they often feel like giving up,” Hutto said. “I remind them that they lost their leg, not their life, and then start by asking them what did they like to do before the amputation.”
In this way, Hutto starts the process of discovering who the person is, and what specific requirements are needed to produce a prosthetic that will allow the person to return to a more normal lifestyle. Hutto takes the time to listen and get to know each patient before he even starts to fit a prosthetic to the individual.
Three years ago Camesha Gates had to have her lower right leg amputated due to a staph infection that resulted from her breaking her leg. At first her right foot was only taken but then when the infection was still spreading, the portion of her leg just below her knee also had to be amputated.
“At first I wasn’t with Eddie and I was fitted with a prosthetic leg that was between 10 to 15 pounds, and it wasn’t even the right color, I kept falling with it” Gates said. “No one even asked me what I liked to do or what I wanted, they gave me a white leg to go with this black body. I started to shut down, I was very depressed.”
Gates started to see Hutto after she had met a woman who was also an amputee.
“I couldn’t even tell she was an amputee. She told me to go see Eddie Hutto. He was the one who asked me questions and found out what I really needed,” Gates said. “I am not a patient or client here, I am a family member, they care about me here.”
Gates was in the office to have adjustments made to her prosthetic leg. For Gates to keep her prosthetic attached to her residual leg she first must put on a protective sock. Over the sock a form fitting rubberized sleeve fits over her leg. The sleeve contains a metal bolt at the end that is able to snap into the prosthetic itself. This snapping is what keeps the prosthetic firmly attached to Gates’ body. It was the snapping mechanism that Hutto initially had to attend to.
Hutto listened to Gates explaining the problem she was having with her leg and then had her remove it so that he could make the necessary adjustments. Hutto left the room and shortly after returned with a newly installed locking mechanism in Gates’ prosthetic limb. He then had her replace the limb to her body and had her walk down the hall. Hutto then noticed that the angle of the foot portion of the prosthetic leg also needed to be adjusted, which he did.
When both Hutto and Gates are satisfied with her prosthetic, Hutto will add the covering that will match the engineered leg to the rest of Gates’ body. After thanking Hutto, Gates left the office saying that she felt much better.
Hutto holds certifications from The American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics, Inc. and The Board of Certification/Accreditation, International. He is a licensed orthotist and prosthetist by the state of Georgia. His son, E.J. Hutto, who has been helping in the office since he was very young, now is a certified prosthetic orthtics assistant.
“I would come to the office and got to see how my dad helped people. I said, ‘Dad, this is what you do? That’s what I want to do too,’” E.J. Hutto said. “Some of our patients have known me since I was real little.”
Originally from Columbus, Hutto had worked for a large company for 14 years but knew that he wanted to give patients a more personalized service. He then took his family to West Africa where he was involved in missionary work for two months. His journey finally brought him to LaGrange where he was able to open his first office. As he worked to fulfill the needs of his patients and his business grew he moved to different locations until he found his present location at 109 Parker Drive.
“Ninety percent of prosthetics are customized. Depending on the circumstances some patients are fitted with post-operative prosthesis that helps with the healing process after an amputation,” Eddie Hutto said. “A form has to be made from the residual limb and then we customize the prosthetic right here in our laboratory. It is easier for a BK (below the knee amputee) because they still have the use of their knee joint.”
Patricia Rachalla is a bilateral below the knee amputee who has lost her limbs due to complications of being a diabetic. Her left leg had to first be amputated due to an infection that was going into gangrene. Eight years later, last February, her right leg had to be amputated due to circulation problems. She started being fitted for her second prosthesis right after the amputation. Instead of a bolt locking mechanism, Rachalla’s prosthetic limbs attach to her residual legs with suction mechanisms, which work better for her.
Rachalla came to the office with her husband, Eddie, for a routine evaluation.
“My biggest problem is with balance. I couldn’t graduate from my physical therapy until I could walk down my steep driveway with my walker. I was so afraid of falling,” Rachalla said. “I practice at home, but always when Eddie is around, just in case if I need help. My goal is to be able to walk with just a cane. I am stubborn; I am not going to stay down.”
Eddie Hutto offered Rachalla some advise and praise for her progress in using her walker.
“There is no big hurry, you go at your own pace,” he said. “Don’t listen to others, you do what you feel comfortable doing, you are doing fine.”
“Eddie (Hutto) has been wonderful with me,” Rachalla said. “He really listens to me and cares how I am doing.”
After saying good bye to Rachalla and her husband, Hutto made his way down the hall to see his next patient.
Hollis Howard, a unilateral above the knee amputee, came to the office with his wife Adelaide for a routine visit. Howard had to have his right leg amputated after a car hit him while he was driving his motorcycle. His leg was badly crushed above the knee. Howard had problems with having the socket, the part of the prosthesis that attaches to the residual limb, being properly fitted to him.
“I have had other sockets but Eddie is the only person who has taken the time to fit me with the right socket,” Howard said.
Before Howard left the office, Eddie Hutto made sure that his socket was properly fitting and that he had a fresh cup of coffee.
“We see broken people and then we work to put them back together, we see instant gratification,” he said. “Everyone has to work to make a living, but we believe that God sends people to us who need our help.”
Hutto Limb & Brace may be reached at 706-884-6114.