AN IV SAFETY BREAKTHROUGH FROM A HEALTHCARE VETERAN
With thirty-one years of experience as a nurse, monitoring a wide range of IV equipment and procedures, Spike-Guard inventor Tracy Lannan has gained considerable first-hand experience with IV treatments over the years. That’s how she noticed that, by and large, IV equipment manufacturers have been neglecting the less-than-secure connection between the intravenous medication tubing and the bag or bottle containing medication/blood product.
While other safety issues pertaining to IV therapy have been addressed to one degree or another, Ms. Lannan noticed that that particular point of connection is as tenuous and unreliable as ever. As such, it continues to generate unpleasant, unsanitary and, considering that some of the treatment fluids in question cost over $20,000 per bag, costly surprises for her and millions of other healthcare workers and patients throughout the country.
Unfortunately, there a number of circumstances where an IV tube spike or IV drip tube may be pulled in a manner that it has not been built to withstand. For example, it is not uncommon for cancer patients and others who undergo IV therapy to feel frail and lightheaded. When such incidents occur as they are walking with an IV structure beside them, they may grab the tube for support and inadvertently disconnect it from the IV bag or bottle, the contents of which may proceed to spill, as Lannan’s patent application describes the hazard, “onto the patient, the furniture, the floor, the IV pump, and/or soaking the patient’s clothing.”
Indeed, Ms. Lannan had witnessed some instances where tens of thousands of dollars of highly potent and potentially hazardous treatment fluids were splashed all over the patient, the floor and elsewhere. However, it is not only patients who suffer the consequences of those hazardous spills. A peer-reviewed Cancer Nursing journal examined the impact of such spills on hospital staff in oncology settings and concluded with the following statement: “Workers have detectable levels of antineoplastic drugs through both drug spills and environmental contamination.” In other words, through skin contact, inhalation, etc. workers are adversely affected by these spills which, thanks to the Spike Guard, are now entirely preventable.
After one particularly disturbing incident, Ms. Lannan, a natural problem-solver, began to think of practical ways to address this serious but largely neglected problem. After several brainstorming sessions, she found the solution. Consisting of an attachable clamp, Tracy Lannan’s aptly-named Spike Guard (illustrated in the patent diagram above) is able to secure the spike by clamping it to the neck of a medication bottle or the stem of a medication bag. The additional patent diagrams on the right illustrate the mechanics of the invention well:
From the patent diagrams on the upper left above and the demonstration video directly to the left of this paragraph, it is evident how the inventor's patent-pending clamp-centered innovation stabilizes the IV structure. Crucially, it does so in a manner that can withstand the pressure of, for example, a patient grabbing on to a spike for support and the Spike Guard does so for both connection points.
Furthermore, as both the top and bottom clamps are removable, Mrs. Lannan's invention is fully portable, versatile and suitable for use on multiple IV structures, if needed. As well, its application is simple enough for almost all patients to complete themselves, such as for cancer patients (or others) undergoing remote IV therapy.
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