SEATTLE — In developed countries, treating diseases is quite simple. Most hospitals are equipped to deal with certain diseases at any given point and if a hospital does not have the equipment a patient needs, they send the patient to a different hospital or order the equipment necessary. But, unfortunately, impoverished countries do not have that luxury.
Thankfully, the company D-Rev hopes to help by treating newborn jaundice.
Newborn babies are quite often born with jaundice — a disease that causes yellowing of the skin and eyes due to an excess of a waste called bilirubin. Bilirubin is usually processed through the liver, but in the case of newborns, the liver may not be developed enough to quickly process the bilirubin in their bodies.
Jaundice is a disease that often does not require treatment because the levels of bilirubin will be processed naturally. However, newborns with moderate to severe jaundice need to be treated as soon as possible as unprocessed jaundice can lead to brain damage.
Phototherapy is a non-invasive treatment for jaundice frequently used in treating newborns. In phototherapy, a newborn is placed under a blue light and remains underneath until the jaundice is cured. The procedure is non-intrusive so it does not harm the newborn in any way, and the process helps break down the bilirubin so it can be ejected from the body naturally.
Although this treatment is readily available in developed countries, it is not available for many developing countries. Treating newborn jaundice is relatively simple in comparison to the treatment needed for other medical conditions, but not all hospitals are as equipped as they could be to treat this disease.
Even though the treatment is simple, countries such as India weren’t equipped with phototherapy devices; the hospitals either had no equipment or dated equipment that did not work.
D-Rev hopes to alleviate this issue with their device, Brilliance.
Brilliance works like any other phototherapy device, but it is been made with just the necessities. The lightbulbs it uses are LEDs, which last about 60 times longer than the typical CFLs. Having such a powerful battery will make the need for replacement bulbs less frequent, thus saving hospitals about $240 a year.
Brilliance also maintains a consistent light even when power and electricity fluctuates. Even though the device itself has only a few functions, it does the job well — Brilliance is not weighed down with unnecessary features, so each unit only costs $400 when normal phototherapy devices usually cost around $1,500.
By decreasing the price and increasing the longevity of phototherapy devices, D-Rev solved a number of issues to help those that need these machines most. Phototherapy devices not only needed to be cheap, but also needed to be effective, and by accomplishing this duality, Brilliance saved many infant lives — the product treated over 216,000 babies and averted over 3,400 infant deaths.
Jaundice is not a disease that is going to end, but it is a disease that can be easily treated with the proper tools. Thankfully, phototherapy exists and can help infants born with jaundice; and thanks to Brilliance made by D-Rev, many more hospitals around the world will have access to phototherapy devices and save newborn lives.
– Daniel Borjas