IU nurse invents medical device for people with sickle cell disease

My name is Abi Huskins and I work at Riley
as a PRN Nurse in the Surgery Outpatient Center. My Background is in Nursing and Peds ICU. We were working in Keyna when we met them,
they both were born in Kenya, Ian and Ivan. The Disease is a significant problem there
and pretty much nobody survives to adulthood. About a year ago, Ivan transitioned from a
power port that was accessed with a bent needle to the vortex port and it is more similar
to like a dialysis in that you have two bigger needles going in and they are not able to be bent because of the flow
volume of the blood being transfused both in and out So the first transfusion I remember going
thinking “What is this like?” It’s in the ICU. But I think I was comparing it then to how
his port was accessed and covered before. and the gold standard of any central line
is that it needs to be acclusive and clear and transparent so that you can see through. So I talked to my husband and was just saying
“I want to figure out a solution to this problem.” and he had actually been to a Grand Realms
that Dr. John Merrell had been speaking at. So he said I think you should talk to this
guy, he might have some leads. So I emailed him one day and he said, “yeah
lets meet” So I am Dr. Jonathon Merrell. I’m a pediatric hospitalist at Indiana University. and then at the Indiana CTSI, I am the director
of the clinical care innovation accelerator. My job is to work with clinicians who identify
important medical problems and go and find engineers and problem solvers
who can help find solutions to those problems. It it has been an absolute joy to work with
Abi and the whole Huskins family on the guard a port project Abi has a unique position as an Indiana University
Health Nurse, but also as a mother to a child with Sickle Cell Disease and that gives her just the perfect perspective. She knows exactly what Nurse’s know and what
they wish they had and what the standard of care really should
be for central line dressings and then to be able to see the challenges her son has with not being
able to get that standard of care just because of limitations in current medical equipment It’s been so much more extensive than I thought. Just all the hoops to jump through, and the
processes and so I have been so grateful for Jon’s guidance
and just having an idea of what steps you have to jump through So yeah, it feels so satisfying to have this
idea in my head and now potentially have a solution. This whole experience with guard a port, working
with Abi, and the Huskins family is just one example of how the Indiana CTSI leadership is trying to make
a difference in real patient care in Indiana and hopefully we will have an impact beyond


  1. Abi, you never cease to amaze us! Uncle Stan and I are so proud of you. Keeping you all in our prayers.

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