Cinde Dolphin’s experience as a four-time cancer survivor made her determined to help other patients. Her medical device company, KILI Medical Drain Carrier, provides a better way for people to wear and access wound-care drains. A JP drain is made of two parts: a tube and a bulb that is about the size of a lemon. The tube is inserted in the body and removes fluids from the point of incision. The bulb collects those fluids outside of the body.
Dolphin’s invention is a mesh bag that looks like a small, half-apron with a zipper. It holds both parts of a JP drain and can be tied around a patient’s waist and secured. Prior to Dolphin’s work, the traditional method of securing a JP drain was to use a safety pin to fasten the device to a patient’s clothing.
The conventional method of securing the bulb on a patient’s shirt was cumbersome and had the potential to make patients self-conscious. Even though wound-care drains are commonly used post-surgery, many patients opt to stay at home during recovery so they do not have to visibly carry around a bag of bodily fluid. By comparison, the Medical Drain Carrier can be worn discretely under clothing, thereby increasing mobility and independence following surgery.
Dolphin’s SCORE mentor, Venki Venkataraman, helped her create a business plan and a sales forecasting template. He also guided her company through the process of converting from a Sole Proprietorship to a S Corporation, gave her counsel on how to land a small business loan, and worked with her to secure operations so that her device could be produced overseas. “The key to my success is a wonderful and professional SCORE mentor,” she says.
The KILI Medical Drain Carrier is sold online and is distributed in a number of hospitals including the University of Chicago Medical Center. Sales of the device have increased 130% in one year and the company has secured investors. Dolphin’s company was named the Startup of the Year by the Sacramento Region Small Business Association, was declared a finalist in the MedTech Division of Sacramento’s 2017 Innovation Award, and has been nominated as the Small Business of the Year by the Sacramento SBDC. KILI has also been named a finalist in the 2018 American Small Business Championship.
Dolphin has also worked with the Mkombozi Women’s Group in Tanzania, Africa. “The fact that I survived cancer so many times put me in a position to give back to the global community,” she says. She provided business education to the women’s micro-finance group. She also worked with their business to design and produce colorful versions of the KILI Medical Drain Carrier.