Nurse Invents Underwear For Patients With Catheters and Leg Bags
Updated April 4, 2021
Nurses have a unique point of view in healthcare. Seeing patients at their worst and being their first line of advocacy, nurses' roles should never be underestimated. Nurses have invented some of the most revolutionary devices and equipment used in healthcare today--the crash cart, ostomy bag, and neonatal phototherapy, to name a few. Creating equipment that saves and makes lives easier is such a nurse thing to do.
Brian Mohika BSN, RN (and a United States Air Force veteran) is just another example of a revolutionary nurse. Mohika invented CathWear, an all-in-one catheter management leg bag underwear-- comparable with the most recognized catheters in the market today (Biliary Drainage Catheters, Foley Catheters, Nephrostomy Catheters, Suprapubic Catheters, and Mitrofanoff Drains)
PW: Tell us about your nursing journey. Why did you decide to become a nurse?
BM: After I earned my radiology degree, I was working in interventional radiology as a technologist/scrub tech. This was my first job opportunity where I was in close contact with nurses, and I was able to experience the differences in job descriptions between a radiology technologist and a registered nurse. I wasn't comfortable with spending my workdays with minimal patient contact. The only time I would engage a patient was before the procedure when I would introduce myself to them, and mostly that was the only contact because then they needed to be recovered from the anesthesia in most cases. This was when I realized I wanted more out of my career, and I decided to go back to school and earn my baccalaureate in science degree. I had a desire to want to know more about the patient's overall health conditions, medications, and also getting to know their immediate family, which was accompanying them.
PW: What was your ah-ha moment? That moment you decided to invent and develop CathWear? At this point, how long had you been a nurse?
BM: I was working in the operating room one day, and I walked into a procedure room and looked at a patient that had bilateral ostomy tubes and one of the bags was safety-pinned to his underwear. It was at this moment when my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ gave me a vision for CathWear. I had a vision of this medical underwear on this patient, and at the end of my shift I went home and I drew it. I'm a US Air Force veteran, and I've been trained to have extremely close attention to detail, which I utilize in all of my inventions, not just CathWear. After creating the diagrams, I went to Walmart and purchased underwear and went to the arts and craft store to buy the rest of the supplies. I had a friend build it on my kitchen table, as I showed her the diagrams, and I guided her towards the vision I saw in the operating room.
Keep in mind, at this time, I was still in nursing school at the University of Massachusetts and had not obtained my nursing degree. After developing the prototype, I applied for a patent and it was granted on July 16, 2013. I know this vision came from God because it's way ahead of its time. With CathWear, we have truly revolutionized the medical garment industry and look forward to helping millions of patients dealing with a leg bag and drain-related complications.
PW: Tell us about CathWear. What need does CathWear fulfill within the healthcare system? How does it make patients’ lives easier?
BM: CathWear is medical underwear designed for patients that require the use of leg bags. It was invented for nephrostomy, biliary, and suprapubic tubes to include Foley catheters.
Some of these patients have a multitude of complications, which makes it difficult for them to manage their day-to-day activities. Patients complain of
- The bag sliding up and down the leg
- The plastic-to-skin creating sweat points and irritating the skin
- Over-tightening of the straps
- Rashes developing from the unsanitary Velcro and elastic straps
Many patients complain of the skin irritation that is caused by the straps, which have led to infections requiring wound care. They're no longer able to wear shorts, dresses, skirts, go to the beach or pool--which significantly reduces their quality of life. CathWear removes the use of the unsanitary Velcro/ elastic straps, and patients can place a 600ml leg bag in a pouch with an opening for a valve.
I invented a Catheter Channel Tract to keep the tubing concealed and close to the patient's body because most of the time, patients would return to the operating room because the tube was inadvertently pulled. This feature allows the tubing to be controlled with access points for ease of use for the patient. CathWear has the ability to help lower infection rates in hospitals and increase cost savings. Infection rates can potentially decrease because the day and night bag won't have to be changed as frequently. The cost savings come from the reduction in supplies used to replace unsanitary straps and also wound care dressings.
PW: Are you currently still employed as a nurse?
BM: I am in transition from a nursing job to working for CathWear full-time.
PW: What obstacles have you faced?
BM: Getting CathWear manufactured the way I envisioned it in the operating room. We reached out to about 15 manufacturers across the world, but the quality and craftsmanship varied and did not meet our standards. We had to take our time to create a product that was durable and washable.
I chose a material that has a wicking quality, so if there was spillage, the material would be able to dry quickly to maintain patient skin integrity. It was challenging receiving sample after sample and having to endure a strenuous quality assurance process. But, one of the many benefits of all of the obstacles was downtime to set up an infrastructure for the company.
When we were finally ready to order our final design, we had implemented numerous qualities, such as,
- Being FDA registered,
- We have access to a medicare code, A5105 (which allows doctors to write a script for CathWear),
- Establishing ourselves as a Certified Veteran-owned, Minority-owned company
PW: What’s next for you?
BM: CathWear is very proud to announce that we have recently expanded our product portfolio to also include a Pediatric version. We understand and have personally witnessed the need for leg bag management goes beyond adults. CathWear is the first of its kind designed in the USA that currently offers a solution to the common problem of leg bag management for both, youth and adult patients.
CathWear is focused on reaching patients who are struggling with the use of wearing leg bags. We are currently selling directly to consumers, durable medical equipment facilities, and doctors' offices alike. Our online platforms are our website at cathwear.com, Amazon, and Walmart.com
PW: What can your fellow nurses do to help you get this product out? What can we teach our patients about it?
BM: We need the nurses in the surgical suites, urology departments, pediatric surgery centers, transplant hospitals, ostomy clinics, and wound care centers to contact us on our website, www.cathwear.com, and let us help their patients struggling with the use of wearing leg bags. Education needs to continue for patients when they're sent home with a `leg bag to truly understand this life change. CathWear has instructional videos, brochures, and handouts to provide continual resources of education for the patients and their medical caregivers. Our goal is to help improve the dignity, privacy, and quality of life during the treatment and recovery of every patient that wears CathWear.
PW: What advice do you have for other nurses who want to develop products?
BM: Don't let anyone belittle your vision. Make sure that you're the one that is the catalyst behind your idea
- Identify your strengths and hire the weaknesses you have within your infrastructure so everyone is playing to their strengths
- Prepare yourself for the marathon and make sure that you always do the next step and go the extra mile.
- Grab a copy of my book Let it Flow and gain some perspective on what it takes to invent a product, how to face and overcome adversity, how to restart your career, how to be an effective leader, how to grow a company, and simply put – how to be a winner!
Read Brian's Book, "Let it Flow"
Have you ever seen a need and said to yourself, “I wish that someone would invent . . . “? Or perhaps you have entertained the idea of even trying to invent something that would meet that need but didn’t know where to start. If either of these scenarios has occurred to you, then this book is for you.
The greatest motivating factor is the patients' lives you'll be improving by implementing your invention on the market.
Want to contact Brian?
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