Ella Casano was first diagnosed with Idiopathic Thrombocytopenia Purpura (ITP) at the age of 7. Since then, she’s seen the inside of a hospital all too many times. ITP is a disease of the immune system which causes it to attack platelets. Usually, platelets are incredibly helpful for helping blood to clot. Ella’s childhood gave her firsthand knowledge of how upsetting hospitals can be. As a result, she invented Medi Teddy to make things more bearable.
Or should we say bearable? Because bears play a key role in Ella’s vision for a more comfortable hospital stay. Needles can terrify anyone, regardless of age. Anything associated with those tiny bits of metal also becomes the target of trepidation. Ella invented the Medi Teddy to help anyone frightened by needles and the IV drips associated with them.
IV infusions don’t have to be so scary with the Medi Teddy helping out
Like many patients before and surely after her, Ella felt frightened when seeing the IV bags. That always meant a complicated, intimidating procedure to address her complex disease. But those exact emotions helped her discover a way to help others feeling the exact same way. Like other inventors, she turned to the comforting power of Teddy bears to address the problem.
On the bear’s website, she writes, “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. I hope that Medi Teddy helps you just as much as it helps me!”
Medi Teddy helps both doctor and patient
Healthcare is a complex issue in American society. We pursue a constant cycle of maintaining good health and addressing issues as they come. At the core of good health is the care provider who must do their job well and, ideally, encourage trust with the patient. While a clear, big heap of wires, bags, and supplies is enough for the doctor, the patient – like Ella – may feel intimidated by it. On the other hand, using a bear to comfort said patient runs the risk of impeding the doctor’s work.
Medi Teddy, however, takes both issues into account. One side of the bear is comprised of a clear mesh that lets the healthcare provider see important information on the bag. But the patient only sees a loving, fuzzy bear. Initially, Ella and her family planned on sticking to some hospitals for the bear. But the Medi Teddy has become wildly popular that the Casanos are receiving calls requesting more and more with each passing day.
A wildly successful design from simple beginnings
Ella Casano, now 12, needed a business idea for Timothy Dwight Elementary’s “invention convention.” The Fairfield, Connecticut native received support from her mother, Meg Casano. Though it did go on to become a U.S. patent, Meg Casano did not see it as something to make a business out of. Instead, the Casanos focused primarily on making the Medi Teddy as a gift for frightened, sick children.
Mother and daughter launched a GoFundMe page to help Ella supply 500 units to medical facilities needing to comfort their youngest wards. They earned double their goal. Naturally, Meg Casano is immensely proud of her daughter. “She really has gone through so much over the years.” Through it all, Ella’s mother states, her daughter pushes on. “She just goes, she does it, and she has such grace about her.”
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These photos are of me getting IVs at the hospital in 2015, when I was 8. I remember feeling afraid of the look of the medical equipment. Thank you to everyone who donated to Medi Teddy. We are almost half way to our goal of helping 500 kids in the hospital who might feel this way too. #medi_teddy #yalenewhavenchildrenshospital #kidsinhospital