Reducing hospital visits for immune-compromised people, such as those living with cancer, is paramount during the pandemic.
A newly patented patient-invented medical device helps relieve unnecessary stress while recovering from cancer surgery.
The apron-like mesh pouch, known as a KILI Carrier, is designed to reduce suture tears and the number of post-surgical readmissions.
Jackson Pratt (JP) drains are common for patients to live with, sometimes up to five weeks after surgery. They allow fluid to collect outside of the body, reducing the risk of infection. JP drains attach to the body with sutures and can easily tangle in clothing, cause pain, and potentially rip skin or sutures, requiring medical attention.
With over 100,000 breast cancer surgeries performed annually in the U.S., it's incomprehensible as to why it has taken so long for a solution to be developed. Luckily, a cancer patient took on the challenge and invented an alternative to holding the drains in place.
Founder Cinde Dolphin is a four-time cancer survivor who underwent nine surgeries over a 16-year period. "Prior to KILI Carrier, the standard medical option was to clip the drain to your clothing using a safety pin," explained Dolphin.
"When you use a safety pin, you risk tearing a suture. This increases your chances of a hospital visit where sepsis, Norovirus, and coronavirus risks are often higher."
In addition, recovery time is sped up when you reduce the chances of a drain being pulled and irritating the incision.
"Often patients aren't informed about JP drains before surgery," says Dolphin, "and it's a harsh awakening after the procedure that octopus-like drains are attached to their bodies for a period of time," she said. "How do you even bathe?"
Products and procedures for healing need to be developed with patient input. "Walk a mile in your patients' shoes," urges Dolphin. "Spend a night or two with a drain attached to your hospital gown using safety pins, and then try to shower. You'll find it's not the best experience to aid in the healing process."
As World Cancer Day approaches on Feb. 4, oncologists and cancer centers are encouraged to collaborate with patients, listen to feedback, and find better solutions to outdated medical protocols. An easy and cost-saving first step is to implement KILI Carriers as the standard of care.