Published on: September 2, 2021
Fitter Profile: John Holland
Experience: 17 years
Why I love what I do:
My partners and I founded Absolute Medical in 2004 with just one product, Pneumatic Compression Therapy Pumps aka Lymphedema Pumps. By 2007 I started to realize that Pumps were not the answer alone to giving patients the type of independence they were looking for. Most of our patients reported to us that these devices were too time-consuming, burdensome to apply, and did not provide them with the “quick fix” that they were looking for.
I set up hundreds of patients in those first few years and the patients that were seeing the positive results all had one thing in common. All of them were wearing the correct type of compression garment.
If you are reading this and you do not know what the “correct” compression garment is, please do not feel bad, because nine out of ten doctors do not know either and if you are a lymphedema patient you know exactly what I am talking about. Almost every lymphedema patient at one point or another has been prescribed “water pills & ted hose compression stockings” for their lymphedema. Water pills do not improve your symptoms caused by lymphedema any better than ted hose or aka: anti-embolism stockings maintain lymphedema in the legs.
For lymphedema, the correct compression garment is a flat knitted garment like Jobst Elvarex, Medi 550, and Juzo Strong. If you are new to lymphedema, you never heard these product names and that is because you cannot find them on Amazon or at your local pharmacy for that matter. Flat knit garments have been the gold standard for lymphedema patients to independently manage their lymphedema successfully for close to one hundred years.
When I finally learned what the “correct” compression garment was I quickly pivoted our companies focus from compression therapy pumps to custom-made flat-knit compression garments. Just one exceedingly slight problem stood in my way. I did not know how to measure and fit compression garments, nor did I have anyone to teach me how to evaluate a patient for garments or measure them for compression garments.
Just to give you some perspective, measuring for a ready-to-wear knee-high stocking requires 3 measurements, ankle, and calf circumference along with 1 length measurement from the heel to top of the calf. Custom-made flat knit stockings on the other hand require a minimum of 14 measurements and each one must be perfect for the garment to be effective in maintaining a patient’s lymphedema. A lot of work goes into evaluating, measuring, and fitting the “correct” compression garment. However, when everything is measured and manufactured correctly you do not just have a good fitting compression garment for your patients. What you have is a medical device that will change a person’s life by giving them their independence back. It is a magical thing and for those of you, that think I might be exaggerating you are always invited to join me, with the patients’ permission of course, to one of our fittings. Once you see the joy and sense of relief on a lymphedema patient’s face after I have fit them correctly you will know what I am talking about.
In our first year, we measured and fit only 44 patients. In our second year, we measured and fit 190 patients. We are now currently measuring and fitting 300 to 400 patients per month and demand for our knowledge and expertise continues to grow as doctors become more educated on lymphedema, lymphedema therapy, and the compression garments needed so that patients can get back to living their best lives.
I love what I do. Absolute Medical truly provides a great service to the lymphedema community. Our customers that are now our friends have been coming back to us for close to 2 decades. My customers, my friends, with lymphedema are some of the strongest and most determined people I have ever met. Absolute Medical will always go the extra mile for them whether it is in our office, in the clinic, or at their home. It is my personal pleasure to be able to provide this service to this group of wonderful people and having the ability to do that makes me an incredibly lucky individual.