Kerrie Cardon has been inventing products since the age of 5, and now she’s hoping one of her inventions could end up in hospitals everywhere.
“I’ve always been exploring and inventing,” she said. “Inventors pay attention to the whole environment and we see things differently.”
Cardon, who lives just outside Whitefish, has invented the Trash Tote System, a disposable product aimed at serving as a trash receptacle at a patient’s bedside.
“When a patient is really sick, they can’t get up to throw items like soiled tissues into a trash can,” she explains. “That means that their overbed table gets contaminated tissues on it, alongside their food tray and water pitcher.”
Cardon says this situation creates the perfect environment for cross contamination between clean and soiled items leading for the potential for a patient to get a hospital acquired infection, which can be deadly. Often nurses or other healthcare professionals are cleaning up items with bacteria, and their contaminated hands can contribute to the spread of pathogens.
“This product supports patient care and supports nurses in the way they work,” she said.
Cardon recently pitched her invention to a panel of judges for the show “Everyday Edisons” that is set to air on Crackle, an online streaming service, on March 15. The show originally aired on PBS, but is being brought back by Edison Nation that focuses on connecting inventors with companies to bring new products to market.
Each episode features three inventors competing to have their idea selected by a panel of leading innovators for development by Edison Nation.
Cardon was among the 24 inventors out of the 1,200 who applied that were selected for the opportunity to participate in the show, which was filmed in Charlotte, North Carolina.
“It was an amazing experience,” she said. “Being around other inventors and their creative energy was the best part.”
Cardon grew up in Grass Range, a town about 30 miles east of Lewistown and today has a population of about 100. She went on to have a career as a registered nurse before returning to school to become a healthcare architect.
She worked in Seattle, programming and planning hospitals nationwide before moving back to Montana to become a healthcare consultant.
Now, she’s taking the time to focus on the product ideas that have for years been emerging in the quiet of the night at 2 a.m. Cardon says she has 50 other product ideas in various categories from household goods, to products for pets, toys and home and garden.
Cardon says inventors tend to look at the world around them and see solutions.
The Trash Tote System came to her years after she had moved on from her career in nursing. When she was working in the job, she says her focus was on patient care so the invention didn’t present itself until later when she was working in healthcare design.
“Going to architecture school taught me the creative process of looking at things differently. I began to look at nursing from an innovation perspective and searching for ways to develop products that enhance both the patient and nursing experience,” she said.
Though she can’t reveal the results of the show, every inventor who appears will get some assistance moving forward.
Cardon plans to seek out a medical company to license the Trash Tote System and then that company would sell the product to hospitals. She says that even if only 1% of hospitals use the product, that millions of units would be sold annually. For more information on Cardon and her work, visit http://www.bisoncreekinnovations.com/Welcome.html