Not expecting their "simple" solution to a medical problem would turn into a winning invention - two Soldiers entered the Department of Defense 2009 Hot Technologies Contest and submitted an invention called a Medical Tube Securing Device.
Staff Sgt. Gabriel Wright and Spc. Brendan Beely of the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research, Burn Center, Fort Sam Houston, a subcommand of U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, recognized a problem, and invented a device for securing medical tubes and catheters intubated within a patient that will prevent damage to the incisors by locating separate bite blocks on the molars.
It also helps to prevent pressure sores on patients\' lips. "The Respiratory and Pulmonary Studies Department presented a problem to us and told us that they needed a solution. We drafted up a couple of sketches and then took supplies we had on the shelf and made the device.
Someone from MRMC noticed our invention and submitted it for the contest," said Beely. That person was Paul Mele, director of the Office of Research and Technology Applications at Fort Detrick, Md. "We looked for technologies that met a real Army need and also had application in the civilian sector. The medical tube-securing device showed outstanding initiative and creativity on the partof MEDCOM Soldiers, "said Mele.
The invention cost less than $1,000.The Burn Center, located in the Brooke Army Medical Center, receives about 300 burn patients each year. Often, these patients have problems breathing on their own due to scorched esophagi, damaged airways due to smoke inhalation, or organ failures.
"We wanted to help prevent tears in mouths and put the pressure back on the molars," said Wright. Therefore, it becomes necessary to intubate the patient so that they can breathe. The current method of securing endotracheal tubes often leaves patients with cuts or tears in their mouths.
In addition, several patients have lost their incisors due to prolonged forceful clamping of the jaw on the semi-rigid bite block.
The prize for winning the Department of Defense Hot Technologies contest is a marketing video. MRMC's technology transfer office will utilize this video to attract potential licensing partners to commercialize this technology.
If the patent is issued, each inventor will receive an additional $250. If their technology is licensed, the inventors split royalties under the license, and as much as an additional $2,000 per year each on top of the royalties.
The same technology was also chosen for World's Best Technology showcase March 24 and 25 in Arlington, Texas. The WBT showcase is an event showcasing the largest collection of undiscovered technologies emanating from the world's leading universities, labs and research institutions.