The Gotbeters, a local Charleston family, adopted their daughter, Molly, from China when she was three years old. Unlike most toddlers, Molly has spina bifida, a birth defect where, early in embryonic development, a portion of the neural tube doesn’t close properly near the base of the spine. Since adopting Molly, the family has been working with doctors to get her treatment, which has required many doctor’s appointments.
As anyone who visits the doctor knows, one of the most common ways to quickly test for a myriad of conditions is through a urine sample, and with Molly’s condition, this was something that had to be done often.. Have you ever tried to get a urine sample from a wriggling, impatient three-year-old? It’s a feat. If getting a ‘clean’ sample isn’t possible, the next step is to use a catheter, which is even more traumatic – for anyone at any age.
Spurred on by an advertisement by the MUSC Foundation for Research Development (FRD), the university’s tech transfer office, the family submitted an idea they had come up with for a urine collection device that would make their lives – and the lives of other parents trying to take urine samples from children – easier. Not only is this device helpful for obtaining hygienic samples from children, it is useful for anyone who has a difficult time voiding while holding a cup, such as the elderly and hospital patients.
The device is simple: it is a disposable, urine collection system that has a plastic liner that release-ably mounts to a toilet bowl, rim or seat, and contains a basin in the center for the urine. The basin has a stopped port that can drain the urine into any specimen container. It fits on a variety of toilet sizes, ranging from a toddler potty to a full-sized toilet seat. Because it is hands-free, it allows for a more hygienic collection and makes the process simpler, particularly when holding a cup is challenging or impossible.
Thankfully Molly had surgery last year to fix the majority of the effects, and she is a happy four-year-old, but there is a very large population that are still in need of an easy and hygienic way to collect a urine sample for their health.
A provisional patent application has been filed for this device, and we currently need to develop a working prototype. These funds will be used to support building the prototype, which we will use as a working model to help license the technology, and ultimately have this product go to market.
This device works for any and all applications that may require urine collection and for all populations.
Urinalysis is performed as a part of most routine medical examinations, including pregnancy checkups and drug screening, and is necessary for diagnosing and monitoring conditions like urinary tract infections, kidney and bladder disease, and back or abdominal pain. The ‘clean catch’ method is typically used to collect urine samples to avoid contamination, but this is difficult for most to complete hygienically. Additionally, if a patient needs assistance, the process can be unsanitary and embarrassing, and if it is too difficult, the doctor may end up having to use a catheter, which is uncomfortable and even painful.
While there are other urine collection systems, all current devices have limitations such as not being disposable or not being configured to fit specific specimen containers. Additionally, they don’t fit a range a toilet sizes.
Technology Licensing Officer
Foundation for Research Development
MUSC Foundation for Research Development