The desire of all parents is to see their children healthy. No one wants to see their little ones sick or taken to the hospital. And yet, there are inevitable times when hospital visits are a must and many children get uncomfortable around things they see when hospitalized. That bag with blood or medication being one of them.
An American girl overcame her fear of these bags with a simple and cheerful solution: she attached the medicine bag to a teddy bear. The invention is called Medi Teddy. It’s a stuffed animal toy capable of hiding the front of the IV bag. In turn, this teddy hides the plastic hospital bag which is filled with mysterious liquids, and a child can look at the smiling face of a toy instead.
Ella Casano, now 12 years old, was diagnosed at age 7 with Idiopathic Thrombocytopenia Purpura (ITP), a disease that destroys platelets and increases the risk of injury and bleeding. Because of this, the girl had to receive a blood infusion every eight weeks in the hospital.
Platelets are one of three types of blood cells (in addition to red blood cells and white blood cells) that originate in the bone marrow from cells known as megakaryocytes. Platelets (or thrombocytes) are responsible for blood clotting. If a blood vessel wall becomes damaged, platelets will rush to the site of injury and form a plug or clot to stop the bleeding. If the platelet count is low, the risk of uncontrolled or prolonged bleeding increases (verywellhealth.com).
“Without any treatment, I have an extremely low number of platelets in my body, and I am at a high risk for bleeding or injury which makes it hard for me to play certain sports or participate in certain activities. I can’t go sledding, climb trees, play sports like soccer or lacrosse, ride my bike, or even do PE class when my platelets are very low” – says Ella.
“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” Ella wrote, according to the Medi Teddy website.
The girl’s creativity surprised the hospital staff. They were impressed with the idea and motivated her and her mother to create more teddy bears.
Thanks to donations from hundreds of people through GoFundMe, Ella and her mother have gotten the amount needed to make more teddy bears and donate them to the children who need them.
“This is a photo of the original drawing of our first Medi Teddy prototype. I described to my mom how I wanted Medi Teddy to look, and she drew it. We then sent the drawing to our manufacturer, who made our first prototype based off of it! Of course, design elements have changed since then, but its fun to look back at where we started. Medi Teddy and logo is a patented trademarked design” – Ella on Medi Teddy website.