Stories about: PICC line

CareAline: A mother’s road to SXSW

The CareAline wrap, modeled by Lochlan Fitzgerald
The CareAline wrap, modeled by Lochlan Fitzgerald. Below, the CareAline sleeve.

Our daughter, Saoirse, was diagnosed with cancer when she was 11 months old. Her care, safety and comfort were our first priorities. When she had a PICC line and later a central line placed to infuse drugs and fluids, we saw a need for a better way to keep these lines safe and secure without using skin-damaging tape and irritating mesh netting. Saoirse was tugging at her lines and trying to pull off the tape, so I handmade a fabric sleeve for her PICC line and a chest wrap for her central line, and she went back to playing and being a kid.

Initially we figured that would be the end of it.

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At this pediatric ‘shark tank,’ the children win

Part of a continuing series of videotaped sessions at Boston Children’s Hospital’s recent Global Pediatric Innovation Summit + Awards 2014.

It was an ABC “Shark Tank” lover’s dream: At this pediatric Innovation Tank moderated by Daymond John, venture capitalists and clinicians fielded pitches from innovators looking to advance their care solution before a packed audience. The contenders:

  • A soft sleeve and wrap to keep catheter central lines in place, created by a parent
  • A handheld device that cleanses central line hubs, freeing up clinicians’ time
  • A mobile weight-loss program for kids and teenagers, designed to teach healthy habits

We won’t disclose the results–you’ll just have to watch the proceedings–but as emcee Bruce Zetter, PhD, of Boston Children’s put it, “The children win.”

Stay tuned as we post more sessions from the Pediatric Innovation Summit (also available on YouTube) and read our blog coverage.

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Patients can innovate too: Putting a wrap on PICC lines

Saoirse Fitzgerald taking a walk wearing her CareAline wrap. The wrap, designed by her mother, helped keep her central line secure. (Mike & Kezia Fitzgerald)

Over the last year and a half I’ve written 70-plus stories about innovations by doctors, nurses and other staff at Boston Children’s Hospital. I haven’t yet written a story about a patient innovation. But that doesn’t mean that patients and their families aren’t out there innovating.

Case in point: Kezia Fitzgerald saw pretty quickly that there was a problem she might be able to fix. Her daughter Saoirse (pronounced Seer-sha), who had been diagnosed with neuroblastoma, had just had a PICC line put into her arm at Dana-Farber/Children’s Hospital Cancer Center to infuse drugs and fluids. Within a day, Saoirse was tugging at the line, trying to pull off the tape that was keeping it in place. “It was irritating her skin pretty badly,” Kezia says. “She was really uncomfortable.”

Kezia, herself at the time fighting Hodgkin lymphoma (read the family’s story on our sister blog, Thriving), wanted to make her daughter as comfortable as she could.

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Let the line shine through: Lighting the way for complicated IV lines

A fiber optic tube like this could help make it much easier for doctors to place PICC lines and other catheters deep within the body.

The idea first came to Farhad Imam, MD, PhD, eight years ago as a trainee after a 30-hour shift.

Imam was helping care for a baby with particularly complex needs and who needed to have several IV lines inserted. The baby started having complications related to one of those lines, a deeply threaded one called a peripherally inserted central catheter, or PICC line, which had gone astray and had to be repositioned.

Walking out of the hospital at his shift’s end, Imam found himself wishing there were an easy way to visualize, in real time, the progress of lines that advance deep into the body through a child’s veins.

If only we could make these lines light up, he thought to himself….

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