NJIT Design Student and Oncologist Work to Make Life Easier for Patients with Mediports

Johmary Adames ’24 and Dr. Krupesh Patel have joined forces to create a protective cover to shield patients’ mediports. Adames is an industrial design major, and Dr. Patel is a pediatric oncologist, who’s close to finishing his MBA at NJIT. 

Mediports are small, surgically installed devices, usually placed on the chest of cancer patients. They are used for easier, long-term access to draw labs, transfusions and administer infusible medications such as chemotherapy. 

Often, patients with ports experience pain and discomfort at their port site while doing everyday activities, and many restrict themselves from doing things out of fear of injury and pain. 

Dr. Patel has experienced how patients get nervous about their ports being touched during visits. He has also noticed how parents of children who are going through chemotherapy are anxious about their child playing and accidentally injuring their port site.

“We hope to provide patients more comfort and a sense of protection when participating in activities,” said Dr. Patel. “Mediports when touched can cause pain and anxiety and we want to decrease that with our mediport cover. The goal is to help as many patients as possible with mediports.” 

Adames wanted to do something in the medical field, especially if it is something that would eventually help both children and adults. Adames met Dr. Patel while she participated in last summer’s VentureLink @ NJIT’s Highlander Foundry program.

“Right now, Dr. Patel and I are just trying to do research and actually connect with patients that are willing to share their experiences, that way we can further understand the problem, and know how to help. The goal is to design a solution that would actually work for them,” said Adames. 

Under the guidance of Mathew Schwartz, assistant professor at NJIT’s Hiller College of Architecture and Design, Adames has started exploring this independent study. By the end of the semester, she intends to have a working prototype of the design.

Adames sees this opportunity as one that connects her profession to the real world. “In the studio, we gain experience solving design problems, but this is the first time I’m solving a problem for a real client,” she noted. “It’s been interesting getting real-world experience in different fields, while also having my professor guiding me through the process.”

The first step for them would be to thoroughly understand the problem by talking directly to the families affected by mediports. They are looking for patients or family members of patients, who want to share their experiences.

If you want to help Dr. Patel and Ms. Adames find a solution, and are open to answering a few questions, please email them at ja725@njit.edu

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