Making people whole again. It’s what Steve Siverd has strived to do for the past 32 years.
Siverd is president of Coastal Prosthetics and Orthotics. He works with adults and children who have lost limbs due to injury or disease or those who have conditions that require bracing.
“I help people the best I can,” he says. “We take care of patients and try to make their lives as normal as possible so they can be productive citizens.”
Siverd, 52, discovered the field when a family friend from church introduced him to it shortly after he graduated from high school. He fell in love with it, became certified and has excelled in the field ever since.
Siverd grew up in Pittsburgh, and spent summers with family in Virginia Beach. When the opportunity arose to move to Hampton Roads to work in a small prosthetics and orthotics practice, he jumped on it and has never looked back. He was part of the team that eventually opened Coastal Prosthetics and Orthotics in Norfolk in 2001. Coastal opened its office in Newport News in 2004. It’s currently located on City Center Boulevard.
Siverd and his team treat patients, many of whom are children with a variety of health conditions, including scoliosis, clubfoot, cranial remodeling, spinal bifida and cerebral palsy. In many of those cases, the patients need bracing to help support their bodies. Orthotics are devices that help a part of the body that needs correcting. For example, a scoliosis patient may need a back brace to help straighten his or her back or a baby may need a helmet to help reshape his or her skull.
Coastal also sees patients who have had limbs amputated due to a variety of reasons, including disease and accidents. Siverd says two major causes of injuries leading to amputation are lawn mower accidents and motorcycle crashes.
“I have seen lots of those over the years,” he says.
Siverd’s job in those cases is to build replacement limbs for them using technology and artistry. The prosthetic limbs are fitted and hopefully allow the patient the ability do what he or she could before the amputation.
“We pay a lot of attention to detail,” Siverd says. “We really want to put the patient first. We go above and beyond to achieve patient satisfaction.”
Since Siverd entered the business, technology has changed dramatically, paving the way for great improvements in how prosthetics and orthotics are made. Computers provide for more exact replication of a person’s limb.
“It’s a lot more precise. It takes the human error out of it,” he says.
Coastal creates most of its prosthetics and orthotics at its own lab. The practice recently opened a new headquarters on Network Station Road in Chesapeake, and it includes a state-of-the-art lab. Siverd is one of five prosthetists-orthotists at Coastal. He credits his staff, including the front office staff, technicians and nurses, for the practice’s success.
“It’s a team effort,” he says. “We take a real group approach.”
Siverd says he truly enjoys being able to help people regain normalcy in their lives. By having a prosthetic, patients are often able to get up and out of a wheelchair and hopefully walk on their own. It helps them not only physically but mentally as well.
“It builds self confidence and self worth,” Siverd says. “If they can rise from a wheelchair, they are then able to look another individual eye to eye. They are no longer looked down upon when they are talking to someone. It puts them on an equal level.
“A person with a lot of physical challenges wants to get on an even playing field with everyone else,” he says. “It’s so important to them.”
Being able to get up also helps a person’s health, allowing one to move around and reap many fitness benefits.
“Getting someone back on his or her feet helps with blood circulation and maintaining a healthier physical body,” Siverd says.
The prosthetics and orthotics business can be emotional, Siverd says. People come in sometimes with lots of sadness, especially when it comes to cases involving children. However, that emotion often shifts to joy when Siverd and his team are able to create prosthetic and orthotic solutions that bring a substantial improvement to their lives.
“You have parents who have aspirations for their child, and then they get smacked with a diagnosis. Their hopes and dreams are shattered,” Siverd says. “For us to treat the child and be able to get that person back to an active lifestyle makes us feel amazing.”
TO THE POINT:
Coastal Prosthetics and Orthotics
Address: 11818 Rock Landing Dr., Ste. 104, Newport News, VA 23606
Contact: Steve Siverd, president