NMH Nurse Wins Healthcare Hero Contest
June 25, 2010
**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE**
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Public Relations Coordinator
Work (973) 579-8699
Fax (973) 383-5374
NEWTON – Newton Memorial Hospital nurse Karla Coombs won the Innovation Hero award from NJ BIZ Magazine’s Healthcare Hero program for her invention of the FROG, a medication delivery device for patients with swallowing difficulties.
Coombs received her award at the Palace at Somerset Park today, June 25.
“It’s extremely gratifying to be recognized by NJ BIZ Magazine, but more importantly the device is in use and it’s helping,” Coombs said. “There was a time when I wondered whether it would ever see the light of day.”
Several years ago, Coombs invented a device that she believed would solve problems associated with delivering medication to patients with swallowing difficulties. The current method can sometimes lead to inaccurate dosages, and lengthier, costlier hospital stays.
The laborious process and exorbitant expenses of earning a patent and achieving Food and Drug Administration approval often made her question her resolve. Then, certain coincidences would remind her why her invention was an important one for patients.
The news coverage in 2004 of the illnesses and subsequent deaths of Terry Schiavo and Pope John Paul II “whispered in my ear that I should not give up,” she said.
Coombs received FDA approval for her device, the FROG, in December 2008. Today, she has received patents in the United States, Canada, China, Japan and Europe. And Newton Memorial Hospital became the first hospital in the world to buy the device and put it to use in 2010.
The device is already improving patient outcomes by helping patients with swallowing difficulties consistently receive accurate dosages of the medications they need.
Until her innovation, nurses would fill a 60ml syringe with a mixture of water and the prescribed medication and allow the medication to flow by gravity into the patient’s stomach. Oftentimes, patients involuntarily dislodge the syringe and interrupt the administration of the medications, resulting in inaccurate dosing.
By comparison, the FROG connects via a tube from the patient to an elevated drip chamber, which slowly and accurately distributes the medication without causing a detriment to the patient.
“Please consider her as a Healthcare Hero,” said Ardelle Bigos, Director of Patient Care Services, in her nomination letter. “She stayed the course over many years and many unforeseen obstacles to improve care to her patients.”