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12-Year-Old Girl Living With Autoimmune Disorder Invents ‘Medi Teddy’ To Make IV Bags Less Scary

Ella Casano was a second grader the first time she needed to be hooked up to an IV. In the IV bag were blood platelets. They were pumped into Ella’s body to treat immune thrombocytopenic purpura, an autoimmune disorder that causes bruising all over her body and leaves her vulnerable to extended internal bleeding. Sometimes, Ella would be hooked up to the bag for as long as six hours. It’s an intimidating and frightening process for a kid so young, and it got Ella thinking.

As Ella met more kids who were frequently attached to IVs, she learned they had the same feeling of discomfort. She began to wonder what could be done to eliminate that. The name came to her first, the “Medi Teddy.” As she developed the idea, she thought a sweet, smiling teddy bear with a pouch to hide the IV bag would go a long way to easing children’s fears. She made the first prototype out of a stuffed animal from her own home.

By that time, Ella was in fifth grade. She entered an invention convention with the…

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