DIY kidney machine saves girl


When the tool you need doesn’t exist, you must make one. That’s exactly what [Dr. Malcolm Coulthard] and kidney nurse [Jean Crosier] from Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary did two years ago.

When a baby too small for the regular dialysis machine (similar to the one pictured above) needed help after her kidneys failed, the kind doctor designed and built a smaller version of the machine in his garage, then used it to save six-pound baby Millie Kelly’s life. Since then the machine has continued to be used in similar emergency situations.

[Photo: NomadicEntrepreneur]

Comments

  1. tony says:

    That is kick ass. making babies is fun, but saving them is pretty cool too.

  2. clark says:

    Now this is a truly awesome hack with a happy ending. Good job Doc.

  3. jweller says:

    Best. Hack. Ever.

  4. winphreak says:

    hospital hacks. I doubt that’d be a new category on here, but nonetheless I bet there are some others out there. (Best to leave it to the professionals though)

  5. Tom Parker says:

    wooo my second front page news!

  6. Jack says:

    Awesome! Neat to see someone using creativity to save lives.

  7. denotsko says:

    My job is maintaining medical equipment and a lot of docs I know don’t even know what their equipment really does, dfinately not how it does it. Really cool to see a doc that has some skills.

  8. unitygain says:

    I wanna see the actual thing they built… That pic must be of her setup now that she is big enough, because thats a bog standard Prisma…
    I wonder what testing they did on this thing they built??? Companies go through hell to get medical stuff validated through the FDA etc etc, testing labs and what have you. I mean hell, I work on medical stuff and it can be prescribed down to the brand of batteries you put use.

  9. adam says:

    we like adam harris posts

  10. f00 f00 says:

    Amazing story. Love it. I wish there was more detail though. They make it sound like it was scratch built but I think a modified version of a standard machine is more likely.

    One thing to note though, its nice to credit people if they send in tips like this one. I know I sent this one and it sounds like Tom Parker did too.

  11. Quin says:

    @ unitygain
    I doubt they did FDA required testing, as it seems that it wasn’t built in the USA.

    I suspect that the machine is just a smaller version, in all ways. A 6 lbs baby may very well have less blood in their entire body then an adult dialysis machine holds externally at any time. The doctor may have built the machine on the stock one, just changing out all of the parts; pumps, tubes, filters; for smaller ones.

  12. The Biomed says:

    But where is the Hack?

    Like unitygain said that looks like PRISMA and a Hotlike fluid warmer… not a hack.

    How about the build specs? That would be nice!

  13. sly says:

    umm… that is a blog standard picture as it says in the blurb. there doesn’t seem to be a pic of the actual machine posted. someone ask the good doc to post pics :-p

  14. Chris says:

    Brilliant, it saved a life which must make this the best hack ever.

    And yes no FDA checks as its British, we have a different organisation… But I assume the hospital board gave him permission to use it as there was no other hope…

  15. bouv says:

    Well, this was in the UK, not in the US, but I know that in the states (and I’m guessing it’s similar over there), a doctor can go ahead and use a device, drug, or tool for whatever purpose he wants, without having to get any kind of FDA approval. The hospital he works for will ultimately have the final say, but the FDA only monitors and regulates devices and drugs that are marketed, and only for their intended purpose. If a doctor wants to, he can prescribe a drug with the intent of treating a completely different disease than what it was designed for, but the drug company can’t say their drug can also treat that disease unless they have done all the FDA required testing.

  16. Mc Raflesia says:

    this is valuable information for me. thanks.

  17. Pug Owners says:

    Thanks for this info :)

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