• Proud to be from Pittsburgh: UPMC nurse anesthetist overcoming obstacles to help others

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    Ever since Brett Fadgen helped take care of his grandfather as a young boy, he knew he wanted to help more people. Brett joined the Ross/West View EMS team as a teen and then kept climbing up the health care ladder, all while dealing with an extra challenge.

    "I do have a disability, but I'm not disabled," said Fadgen. "I need to learn in my own different ways to complete tasks."

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    Brett was born with a congenital defect. His right arm ends just after his elbow. But the defect never slowed him down.

    "As far as I know, I am the only person in the world that provides anesthesia at this level with a disability identical to mine," he said.

    He's part of a team of 12 at UPMC that travels between hospitals helping with anesthesia. It's a position he fought for with hard work, determination and a bit of ingenuity.

    "I had to adapt my prosthetic devices to make it efficient and safe for the patient," said Brett.

    He created adaptive pieces that work for different tasks during his job. He said he continues to look for ways to do his job better every day and is just starting to realizw that his trailblazing path could inspire future health care careers.

    "I treat my arm like anyone else. I'm no different," Fadgen said. "More recently, I realized I might be able to help people, by telling my story of my accomplishments as well as my challenges."


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