I don't think there are too many people out there who love needles, but kids are especially freaked out by them. One of my sons can't even see needles in a movie or he starts to feel queasy; in fact, he has fainted more than once when getting a needle because his anxiety level shoots through the roof. If he had to have an intravenous drip? I don't exactly know how he would cope. (Especially if he had to look at it, that seems to be the worst part.) Fortunately, one little girl's IV teddy bear invention could make a world of difference for frightened kids during medical procedures.
Ella Casano, a 12-year-old girl from Connecticut, has come up with the most genius invention to help protect kids from seeing their IV at the hospital: the Medi Teddy, a "stuffed animal pouch" that hides the IV from a child's eyes. Ella did this as a way to shield other kids from something she herself had gone through in the hospital; the tween was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder that prevents the blood from clotting properly called Idiopathic Thrombocytopenia Purpura when she was just seven. Because of this diagnosis she has had to go to the hospital for IV infusions every six to eight weeks since she was eight years old.
This experience has changed her outlook on life.
As Ella explained on the Medi Teddy website:
When I had my first infusion, I was surprised and a little bit intimidated by the look of the amount of tubing and medical equipment on my IV pole. As I saw more and more children experiencing the same feelings, I became more interested in creating a friendlier experience for young IV patients, so I created Medi Teddy.
Instead of focusing on the negative (and who would have blamed a little girl for being frightened?), Ella's mom Meg Casano told CNN her daughter came home one day and came up with her own creative solution:
So, she cut up a stuffed animal and used a hot glue gun and made her very first Medi Teddy. The purpose of the Medi Teddy is to conceal a bag of IV fluid, medication, or blood product from the child who is receiving it and instead provide a friendly face to look at!
From there Ella and her mother went about figuring out how to get the patent for the Medi Teddi, manufacture and package it for distribution. Ella even worked on her own business plan as a project at school to make the Medi Teddy a non-profit organization. She and her mom started a GoFundMe page to get the first 500 Medi Teddys made in order to donate them to kids like her; their goal was $5,000 and by Saturday they had reached $16,677.
These Medi Teddys are brilliant in their simplicity; a mesh pouch at the back of a teddy bear to hide medicine, fluids, blood... whatever might be in an IV that would make an already nervous child more frightened.
And the fact that Ella wants to donate them to other kids? It's a beautiful thing.