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POPS Staffer Loves Blending Art, Science to Help Patients

Robert Weber wasn’t sure what he wanted to do, but a feature on a local cable news station led him in the right direction.

He was living in New York at the time and was unsure what career path he wanted to pursue. So, he took a career counseling course to find the best fit.

What he found was that he really liked a lot of things, and that was a good thing and bad thing.

“The good thing was that I could enjoy doing a lot of different jobs,” Robert, who is a certified orthotist and prosthetist at Shriners Hospitals for Children Medical Center — Lexington’s Pediatric Orthotic and Prosthetic Services (POPS). “The bad thing is that it didn’t really narrow it down for me.”

After the test he was left considering a career in healthcare, but without a concrete idea of what exactly.

That’s when he stumbled on a cable news station’s spotlight of an orthotics and prosthetics business. He was glued.

“I saw that and said, ‘Ah. That’s it,’” he said.

He had always been into things that allowed him to use his mind and his hands, and orthotics and prosthetics was the best of both worlds.

He’s been at the Lexington medical center for three years and also worked at the Shriners hospital in Springfield for five years.

In his role, Robert evaluates patients for orthotic devices, which are used for individuals who have their limb but need support, and prosthetic devices, which are for those who are missing a limb and need the device to carry out activities of daily living.

The medical center’s POPS department specializes in custom fabrication of artificial limbs and braces.

It’s a perfect meshing of art and science, he said.

“There’s a scientific process behind it all,” Robert said. “But you need the artistic ability to make it work just right for the patient, to make it look like something.”

Robert said he loves his job because children offer a different perspective on the world.

“They see everything with eyes wide open,” he said. “They aren’t afraid of learning new things. It’s the energy that the children bring to everything that I enjoy the most.”

He also enjoys seeing the patients’ and families’ relief and excitement when the POPS department is able to develop a device that suits their needs perfectly.

“That’s why it’s important to listen to the patients and their needs,” he said, and develop each individual device with that in mind.

Robert said he enjoys being able to use his skills “to enable children to live their lives to the fullest.”

Outside of work, Robert said he enjoys learning new things, which comes as no surprise for the guy whose career quiz told him he liked a little bit of everything.

Last year he learned to make Beef Wellington, and this year, he’s learning all that goes into redoing his entire bathroom, all while raising chickens.

“I enjoy doing things outside of my comfort zone,” Robert said. 

To learn more about the Shriners Hospitals for Children Medical Center — Lexington’s POPS department, visit https://www.shrinershospitalsforchildren.org/lexington/pediatric-orthotic-and-prosthetic-services.

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