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July 20, 2023
John Rizvi, Esq.

Shawn Sisco’s Story: Inventing & Patenting a Medical Device Made from a One-Dollar Tube of Lotion

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I never ever thought of myself as an inventor. My name is Shawn Cisco and I work full time and customer service. I'm a wife and a mother and have dozens of wonderful grandchildren. I'm also the inventor of a medical device called a urinary catheter support. It all began when my husband had a very common prostate surgery and had a Foley catheter installed for his recovery, he began to complain of discomfort, which was to be expected, but after a few days, he would not even get up from his hospital bed. So he was sent to a local nursing home for a short term rehab. While in the nursing home, his pain increased, so they gave him more medication. Unfortunately, that clouded his thinking and masked what the real problem was. Eventually, we discovered the catheter tube had started to erode his skin. The tube was torquing and had created a one inch incision that got worse every time he moved. So wouldn't you know, the day we discovered this injury was the same day our insurance ran out for rehab. And I would have to bring my husband home in this condition. He came home by wheelchair transport, and the driver was kind enough to help lift him on the bed. We were in a terrible situation. He was a mobile with pain. I told my husband to just try and take a nap. And I would figure out what to do. I went to the computer and Googled catheter supports, but found nothing that would center and stabilize the catheter tube and prevent the injury from getting even worse. I thought, What in the world? What can we do? I was absolutely frantic. There was nothing more I could do but pray. A design popped into my head. And a voice in my heart seemed to say what is in your house. So I felt I should make something. I looked around and found a plastic tube of some kind of product from Dollar Tree. I emptied the tube and started working on my little craft project. When my husband woke up, I told him, I was going to apply something. And let's see if this works. After a moment he said what happened. My pain is gone. I was overwhelmed with joy and relief. There was hope. The next day he was able to use a walker pain free and rejoin normal life. A few days later, the homecare supervisor came to visit. We told her story, she took a look at what my husband was wearing, and said that's genius. Later, a second nurse came out and also said That's genius. The same exact words. That coincidence sent a chill up my back and I realized that this could be a sign that my little craft project might have much wider significance. I knew I should protect my invention, and so considered getting a patent. I had no idea who to contact. So I googled medical device patent attorneys. And the search brought up John Rizvi at the patent professor. I was impressed with his credentials, and the way he presented online. I also needed an attorney whose personality would match mine. I had a real unusual product. Let's face it. When I called Mr. Rizvi, he made me feel comfortable, and I found him to be very serious, detailed and easy to work with. He completed my patent search and filed my provisional patent. But what was the next step? I had no medical background, industry connections or sales ability. I needed help. I called some catheter companies and even Medtronic to no avail. Again, it was time to pray for guidance. Suddenly, I thought of the University of Minnesota. Sure enough, they were looking for medical products to develop during a summer program for bio engineering students. They offered a mentored team approach to refine and potentially commercialized invention prototypes, exactly what I was looking for. There were over 40 applicants, eight projects were chosen including mine, and I was the only inventor without medical experience or degree, another miracle. Currently, my invention is in final stages of development before we proceed to market. It's a journey that requires courage, patience and faith. But we've taken the right steps. For anyone out there who is trying to invent a solution to a problem. Be willing to research. Test your solution. Protect your idea, be convinced and pushed to the next step. My confidence could not waver even though I had to face difficult situations and conversations. I knew the vet Are you of my invention to alleviate pain, avoid injury and protect quality of life. So nothing could stop me. I would not give into worry, but just show up, do my best and keep moving forward. inventors are creative and we don't have to rely on ourselves for all the abilities or answers. We can find professionals to help us in areas we lack. But if we are truly able to solve a problem for mankind, we ought to find the courage, patience and faith to see it through. I did and so can you

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