THE MOTHER OF INVENTION
Catherine “KK” Patton dreaded the multiple daily insulin injections needed to manage her Type I Diabetes. Fed up with the injections and disappointed with the insulin pump, Patton developed the iPort injection port
As the saying goes, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” So what happens when a diabetic mother needs relief from the stress and anxiety of multiple daily insulin injections? She invents the iPort.
Catherine “KK” Patton developed gestational diabetes during her first pregnancy in 2001 and as is common she was prescribed insulin shots. “I wasn’t too concerned when my doctor prescribed insulin,” says Patton. “I just figured it would all be over once I delivered my baby.” It was over but not how Patton had imagined. After the delivery and birth of her son, Patton developed mastitis four times in the early post partum period and felt perpetually sluggish. After about a month and a half of feeling poorly, she returned to her physician’s office to see why. Blood tests revealed that Patton’s body was no longer making insulin. She was diagnosed as a Type I Diabetic and started on insulin injections which she would have to take for the rest of her life.
As a Type I diabetic, Patton has to completely regulate her glucose metabolism with her insulin. An extra exercise class, an evening out, stress or a simple cold, can completely tip Patton’s metabolism, so to keep things in check, she monitors her blood sugar levels several times daily and takes insulin as need to keep her blood sugar levels steady. “It was so hard to take all those injections,” says Patton. “I hated it. Sometimes I’d think about eating and realize I’d need an extra insulin shot and I just wouldn’t eat.”
Patton tried the insulin pump, but she did not like the fact that she had to wear a little machine or the fact that her life revolved around programming the machine to deliver the correct insulin doses. “That little machine was controlling my life and I hated that,” says Patton. So after a brief time with the pump, Patton reverted back to giving herself multiple, daily insulin shots.
At a visit to her endocrinologist, Patton asked the diabetic educator if there was a device she could wear for an extended time like the insulin pump but would enable her to easily and painlessly give herself insulin injections. The educator knew of no such device and Patton began thinking. The very next day she met with a patent attorney. After hearing her idea, he searched the patents and found that no such device existed. Patton filed for the patent in 2002 and the iPort was conceived.
Patton worked with a team of engineers to design the iPort prototype. She wanted something that wouldn’t be noticeable through her clothes and would not hinder her movements or activities. The iPort is about the size of a quarter and once applied sits just on top of the skin. She wanted the device to be long wearing, like the insulin pump and be easy to use and change. The iPort is applied once every there days and is able to accommodate up to 75 injections. The adhesive on the iPort enables wearers to swim, shower and engage in physical activities without worrying that the iPort will fall off.
Most importantly, Patton wanted to lessen the number of injections she had to endure. With the iPort, a person only feels a “stick” at the initial application. The insertion needle is then removed and a small plastic cannula allows passage of the medication from the resealable septum (external part of the device) to just beneath the skin surface. When a person needs a dose of insulin, they simply inject the insulin through the septum and it flows painlessly through the cannula below the skin’s surface just as if they had injected the insulin directly into their skin. For someone like Patton, who takes a minimum of eight insulin doses daily, she only feels one tiny prick every three days as opposed to a minimum of 24 shots if she were doing conventional insulin injections.
“The iPort enables me to maintain greater control of my diabetes,” says Patton. “Since I don’t have to endure all those shots, I willingly take my insulin as I should, eat as I should and take care of myself as I should. I avoid the spikes that I used to have with my blood sugar and am able to maintain steady, even blood sugar levels.”
iPort has revolutionized how diabetics take their insulin, but its utility is not limited to diabetes alone. Anyone who has to take multiple regular shots could potentially use an iPort. Perhaps one day iPorts will be used to deliver pediatric vaccinations, chemotherapy, or fertility shots. The possibilities are endless and it’s all becoming possible because a mother saw a need and created an invention.
The iPort™ is available by prescription only and comes packaged individually in a carton of 10 devices, or roughly a one month supply. There is a prescription assistance program offered through Patton Medical Devices for patients who may be unable to afford their iPort prescriptions. Visit the website or call toll free for more information.
Patton Medical Devices, LP
3108 North Lamar Boulevard
Austin, Texas 78705