Dermatologist Dr. Curt Samlaska: Inventor (Part I)

While relaxing at a pool one day, Dr. Curt Samlaska and his youngest daughter Londyn discussed inventor kids who put up websites and have been successful in marketing their own products such as jewelry and flip-flops. Londyn—aka Lu Lu—said she wished she could build something with pool noodles.

The result was Lu Lu Noodles.

Dr. Samlaska created T joints and corner joints with locking pins to insert into standard pool noodles so that children and adults can build anything from rafts to playhouses, pool lanes to tic-tac-toe games. The noodles and joints pop in and out and lock together.

Dr. Samlaska calls them an “erector set for the pool.” There’s no limit to what anyone can build, from rafts to pool lanes and tic-tac-toe—and that’s the idea of it.

Recently, Dr. Samlaska received a call from heads of a manufacturing company who had come across his patent. Since then, the company has licensed Lu Lu Noodles and will go into production soon.

But designing Lu Lu Noodles wasn’t the end of his inventing career.

One of Dr. Samlaska’s friends had an idea to create medical devices. Dr. Sam thought there was a lot of potential, so he got involved.

One design is to enhance an existing package that has a one-way valve for a urine collection system for a Foley catheter. The catheter is a thin, sterile tube inserted into the bladder to drain urine into a bag. Because it can be left in place in the bladder for a period of time, it is also called an indwelling catheter.

Basically, the catheter is inserted to collect urine from surgery patients, debilitated patients, and patients who are in nursing homes who can’t control or take care of their bodily functions.

The problem with these catheterized bladders is that they can become colonized with bacteria within 24 hours. This is not infection, however a catheter does increase and lead to the incidence of urinary tract infections. J and M Urinary Systems have developed a check valve to prevent backflow into the bladder.

Dr. Samlaska said that what’s killing hospitals in fines right now is that the number one cause of re-hospitalizations is urinary tract infections caused by catheter use. It’s very expensive for hospitals to continue along that path.

Dr. Samlaska got involved with designing the next phase of the one way valve technology by inserting a check valve in the collection bag. The urine collects in the urine collection bag and the valve prevents any reflux back into the collection tube.

Dr. Samlaska also helped design a sterile T-valve at the bottom of the bag that prevents contamination of the collected urine when the bag is finally drained.

Read Part II for more information about Dr. Samlaska’s inventions.