M. H. Mandelbaum Orthotic & Prosthetic Services, Inc. articles of interest.

Article : Newsday features M. H. Mandelbaum Prosthetic client and high school athlete; Peter McClinchy

“This Is My Life”

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THE SHOTGUN BLAST tore through the shinbone of his left leg, relegating it to a bloodied mass of flesh and splintered bone.  Peter McClinchy, all of 18 years old, was on the cold kitchen floor now and, as best as he could figure, as good as dead if he could not somehow call for help.  The telephone, on the wall seemed hopelessly out of reach.  And his Father?  That was a good one.  His father’s phone call and suicide threat were the reason he had come to the house in the first place. There was no chance his father was going to call anyone now, being unconscious and maybe intoxicated.

In his mind, Peter McClinchy told himself, ” I got shot.” And then, realizing he somehow had shot himself, told himself, “Don’t pass out.” And so he crawled. Crawled them dragged himself. Through the kitchen, through the living room. Through the foyer an to the front door. Somehow, sprawled in the doorway, the chill of an October night and death staring him in the face, he managed to yell. He was shivering now – so cold, so cold – as the blood spilled out of him.

Next door, at her house, his grandmother heard him scream. And then his aunt and uncle and grandfather and soon they were all there. Calling 911.

The ambulance carried him from his father’s house on Elizabeth Place in Center Moriches to Brookhaven Memorial Hospital.  From there, the helicopter airlifted him to the University Medical Center in stony Brook.  The next thing he knew, a doctor was talking to him.

“Once I stick this needle in you, you’re going to go out.” he heard the doctor say.

It all seems so distant now as McClinchy sits in the dugout of the baseball field at Center Moriches.  Seems so distant because McClinchy is a senior and a left-handed pitcher for the team.  Seems distant—despite the fact that it is May 9 and this happened Oct.5–because he is talking about a game from the previous afternoon when he threw five innings in relief against Port Jefferson, losing on a wild pitch in the 10th.  Losing after they started bunting on him.

Distant, that is, until you look at the leg.

It is right there, sticking out from under his shorts, $13,000 worth of hinges and springs and bearings and hydraulics, the graphite foot–just a curved shape really, but worth $7000 by itself—extending from a casing around his upper leg and tucking into his sneaker where his left foot once had been.

“The first time I pitched I was pretty nervous,” he said.  “Not because of the pitching, but because of the people watching.”  That was March 28.  He is fine with it now.

As he said, “This is my life.  There is nothing I can do about it now.  I might as well go on.”

“In the hospital, “his mother, Sharon McClinchy, said, ” the doctors came and said, “This is what has to be done.  I didn’t have a decision to make.  It had to be done.  They had to amputate.  My first thought was baseball, how much he loved the game.  All night long, all I could think of was, ‘What are you going to say to him?’  Around six o’clock the next morning, I was in the room and he woke and he looked at me and said, ‘Did they take my foot?”  I said, ‘Yes.’

“He said, ‘ I can handle that.’  That’s what he said, ‘I can handle that.’  “And since then, he has.

Peter McClinchy has forgiven his father, Robert, who, according to Suffolk County police spokeswoman Cecelia Clausing, had threatened to commit suicide with the shotgun, a 12-gauge Stevens Model 58.  Robert McClinchy, according to his family members, had called his son and Peter had raced from his mother’s home on Chichester Avenue–Sharon and Robert have been divorced almost seven years–in an effort to stop him.  He did.  But, with Peter holding the shotgun by the barrel, according to his attorney, Jim Hogan, it accidentally discharged, leaving him wounded.

Robert McClinchy, who police said was “under the influence of alcohol,” was not charged in the incident,  He did not return phone calls to his house this week.

“We’ve talked about it,” Peter McClinchy said.   “I have no anger toward him.”

More incredible, Peter McClinchy has no anger at all.   Not toward his father, or himself.  Not toward his situation.  “It was devastating, what happened,” Sharon McClinchy said.  “But he has always been very determined.  He has always had this drive to get where he wants to be.   I don’t know how he did what he did.  But he did it.  He could have felt sorry for himself.  But he made up his mind he wasn’t going to do that.  he was going to be positive.”

McClinchy was in the hospital for six days.  He missed just seven days of school.  Three weeks and three days after the accident, he took a pair of crutches and walked the last mile of the “One-to-One Walk” with amputee athletes Dennis Oehler and Todd Schaffauser.  In December, he began throwing a baseball with former Yankees and Mets pitcher Paul Gibson, a graduate of Center Moriches.   He taught himself how to compensate for the limited motion in his mechanical knee and learned how to pitch from the stretch.  Frustrated when he was sidelined for almost five weeks at the start of the season after he strained his right knee, McClinchy has overcome that setback and done well.

Having hit .486 last season as he went 5-1 with a 3.28 ERA with 48 strikeouts and 17 walks in 47 1/3 innings, McClinchy has pitched 6 2/3 innings this season and has a 3.15 ERA.  He has struck out five, walked one.  He is batting .250 and has thrown 80 mph- and, most remarkable, is still being recruited by an NCAA Division I school, the University of Hartford.

“The real victory,” Center Moriches baseball coach Chris O’Brien said, “is Peter getting out on the field again and playing a game.  A lot of kids would have said, “I’m never going to play again.’  Two days after the accident, he told me, ‘ I can’t wait to start throwing.’ His mother may call it stubbornness.  I call it competitive drive.  This kid is amazing.”

“You learn a lot about yourself,”  Peter McClinchy said, as he sat there in that dugout earlier this week.  “What I learned  was what I can do, what I have done.  How strong I am.  That if you set your mind on something, you can do it.  That you can’t sit around and feel sorry for yourself because you have to live.”

Which he has.

Title: Port Jeff Orthotist Helps Quake Victim Walk Again

By Jennifer Choi

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Port Jefferson business owner Martin Mandelbaum is helping Haiti native Mana Alexandre get back on her feet, so to speak.

Mandelbaum, a certified prosthetist orthotist, is providing his services free of charge to adjust and care for Alexandre’s newly donated prosthetic legs as she learns to walk again.

Port Jefferson prosthetist Martin Mandelbaum help Haiti earthquake victim Mana Alexandre adjust to prosthetic legs earlier this month. Photo by Jennifer Choi.

Alexandre, 21, was among the thousands injured during the Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti. While recuperating under a hospital tent in the capital city of Port-au-Prince after having both legs amputated, Alexandre met a couple from Oakdale who were serving as volunteers.

Christina Panetta, a physical therapist for 25 years, said she and her husband, Richard, traveled to Haiti in February and volunteered for 65 days. Panetta said the couple became attached to Alexandre while treating her and later learned she had no home to return to when she was well enough to leave the hospital. To help Alexandre receive the medical care she needed, the couple reached out to Congressman Steve Israel and with his help applied for a humanitarian visa to bring the young woman to the United States.

“She honestly had no chance in Haiti,” Panetta said, recalling the smell of infection and death that lingered in the streets of Port-au-Prince.

“I thought the life is going to be sucked out of her,” Panetta said. “I had horrible pictures of what’s going to happen to this beautiful girl who’s so full of life.”

Last month, the couple helped Alexandre receive donated prosthetic legs in Florida before bringing her and her 13-month-old son, Wolf, to their Oakdale home. Friday, they joined the young woman in Mandelbaum’s Port Jefferson office where prosthetists have continued to care for her new legs.

Mandelbaum, who established his business in the Port Jefferson area in 1986, said amputees go through many changes, especially in the first year, as they heal and adjust to their prosthetics.

Noting the limited care available in Haiti, the prosthetist said of Alexandre, “She’s probably very grateful. She’s smiling a lot today. I think she’s pretty happy with the care she’s getting.”

Mandelbaum, a Mount Sinai resident for 21 years, said offering his services to Alexandre is a way of “giving back to society.”

A certified prosthetist in Mandelbaum’s office, said he and his colleagues are focused on doing “anything we could do to help her improve her life.”

“This is all about her, She’s got a great attitude and great support.”

As Alexandre works on adjusting to her new legs, the Panettas said they will continue to care for the young woman and arrange for her to return to adequate shelter in Haiti. “We’re not going to send her back to a tent,” Christina said. “We’re going to send her back walking and able to take care of herself.”


Title: Port Jefferson orthotist discovered career while recovering from burns

by Naomi Solo,
Source: Times Beacon Record Newspapers | News, Sports, Classified & More

Little did 17-year-old Marty Mandelbaum know what lay ahead on that Christmas Eve in 1974, when he was heading  to  work at a stationery and appliance store in lower Manhattan. He was a student at a New York City community college, considering a career in industrial arts education and possibly leading on to an architecture or engineering career. Those dreams were drastically altered when a fire broke out in the store where he worked part-time.Caught in a “back draft” situation — where the flames on the second floor of the building, seeking oxygen, rushed into the elevator as the door opened — Mandelbaum emerged from the store elevator with his hands, upper body, face and arms enveloped in flames. Due to holiday traffic, an ambulance couldn’t get to the store and he had to be taken by police squad car to Bellevue Hospital. In those days there was no burn unit in Manhattan and in addition to his horrible burns, his lungs had collapsed due to the smoke inhalation. He was flown, along with his mother, by army plane to Massachusetts, where he remained for the next two months in the burn unit of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Mandelbaum’s severe burns required many surgeries and skin grafts from several parts of his body, and surgeons were concerned about keeping his hands functional. His situation was so dire that the doctors considered amputating fingers on each hand, but Mandelbaum had other ideas. When he returned home, he used his mother’s hands as models to refashion a half-dozen splints, which occupational therapists had made for him, to correct his deformities. Mandelbaum, who is now a volunteer with the Port Jefferson Fire Department, also had extensive physical therapy to overcome his muscle atrophy.

His physical therapist, impressed with his splint redesigning, suggested Mandelbaum look into studying orthotics and prosthetics. Mandelbaum earned his bachelor’s degree in the field in 1979 and this career led him to Long Island — first to Hempstead, then in 1983 to Port Jefferson, where he still practices.

Mandelbaum’s work in upper Port includes helping to improve the lives of children and adults who are either missing limbs or need support for weakened or deformed limbs. A tour of his facility shows the huge advances made in this field. Not long ago, the best available fix for a missing hand was a plastic one that was just a model, unable to move at all. Prostheses today allow a person to open and close the hand by contracting muscles in the arm.

One of Mandelbaum’s cases was a Haitian woman who lost her legs in the 2010 earthquake. The woman held onto her baby throughout the quake, survived and was brought to New York. Mandelbaum’s company fitted her with two prosthetic legs.

The orthotist’s volunteering has taken him into many new dimensions, including helping animals. A director from the Avian Center for Exotic Animals in New York City called him after Big Red, a parrot living with an elderly woman, had a leg amputated due to infection.

“For a parrot it is detrimental, as she has to stand on one claw while using the other to hold food,” Mandelbaum explained. He devised and built a prosthetic device the bird could stand on.

Then there was the case of Polar, a golden retriever puppy whose rear legs were paralyzed, eventually causing an infection that necessitated amputation. The dog was facing euthanization. His owner contacted Mandelbaum, who had two temporary and then a permanent prosthetic device made for the dog. The golden retriever then spent his life traveling, serving as an inspirational dog for children.

Mandelbaum’s experience recovering from his burns has changed more lives than just his own.




Mandelbaum helped this golden retriever, Polar, after his back legs  were paralyzed and required amputation.
Photo from Marty Mandelbaum


Marty Mandelbaum discovered his career while recovering from burns as a young man.
Photo by Dick Solo


Marty Mandelbaum, left, with the help of a veterinary technician, takes a look at parrot Big Red.
Photo by Dick Solo

Comfortable and preening herself

Big Red lost a leg to infection. Photo from Marty Mandelbaum

For more information, email us info@mhmoandp.com

Revised: March 2020

3 Medical Drive, Suite C, Port Jefferson Station, NY 11776 / Phone: 631-473-8668