Nov 122011
piercing catheter

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Hospitals spend $1.4 billion every year because of failed IVs

Ron Fulbright of Spartanburg devised a roadway reflector that he said cannot be damaged by snow plows or road-clearing equipment.

Dan Blalock of Summerville developed a waterproof brick capable of withstanding winds up to 240 mph and offering great insulation to save on energy costs.

And Jerome Pearson of Mount Pleasant invented a 220-pound, solar-powered spacecraft to remove space debris and service satellites without returning to earth.

Those were a few of the novel ideas for new products laid out Thursday during the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce’s Perfect Pitch contest for a $5,000 prize plus amenities.

But it was an idea pitched by Dr. Jimmy Rawls of Folly Beach that wowed the panel of five judges and landed him the top prize.

As an anesthesiologist for 15 years, he said it constantly nagged at him that the current intravenous lines being used are not very pliable and sometimes kink up, which can result in blood clots, infection and needless needle punctures when a new IV line has to be installed.

The Roper Hospital doctor likened his invention of a for IV access to a straw that bends. He calls it the J Loop.

“It’s amazing no one has thought of this before,” he said.

Rawls said 50 percent of catheters fail in the first 48 hours, and hospitals spend $1.4 billion every year because of failed IVs. He said the device could save medical facilities money on materials, labor and litigation, and will lead to “less holes in the body.”

Rawls has spent about $15,000 so far and a patent is pending, but he is looking for someone to help him manufacture the device, shepherd it through clinical testing and bring it to market. As part of his reward, he also picked up free entrepreneurial training and a dream team of mentors provided by the chamber.

He plans to use the $5,000 to buy more materials, but the money can be used for anything, said Laura Williams, the chamber’s small-business director.

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