A 12-year-old American girl has come up with an ingenious product to ease the anxieties of paediatric patients just like her. Ella Casano was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease called Idiopathic Thrombocytopenia Purpura (ITP) when she was just 7 years old.
The disease means that Ella’s body destroys the platelets in her blood so it doesn’t clot as it should and she generally has a very low amount of blood platelets, putting her at high risk for bleeding or injury. Whilst many kids with this disease outgrow it over time, Ella’s condition has never gone away – making her a fairly rare case.
Ella and her Medi-Teddy “Bailey”
In order to replace the amount of platelets in her blood, Ella receives a special transfusion that is delivered through an IV drip every 8 weeks and as a young child would often feel fearful and anxious about the procedure. This motivated her to invent the Medi Teddy – a stuffed teddy bear that hides the front of an IV bag. That way, instead of seeing the bag of mysterious medications, a young patient can look at a smiling friend instead.
“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,” says Ella. “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.”
The family is now trying to launch a non-profit around the Medi Teddy so they can give away the bears away for free.
Photo Credit: https://www.medi-teddy.org/new-page