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The Full Guide to No-Touch Catheters

by AmyHernandez June 26 2018 05:51



Since the introduction of clean intermittent catheterization as an alternate way to drain the bladder, there have been many advances in cathing techniques as well as new types of catheter products.

No-touch catheterization techniques and no-touch catheters have become increasingly popular over the years. This is likely due to the convenience and independence these products can offer, as well as a way to reduce the occurrence of urinary tract infections (UTIs) and catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs).

UTIs and CAUTIs can be an issue for many people who perform intermittent self-catheterization, which is why sterility is most often at the top of the list of most important things to consider when deciding which intermittent catheter type is right for you.

WHAT IS A NO-TOUCH CATHETER?

A no-touch catheter, also known as a touch-free catheter or touchless catheter, is a urinary catheter that can be inserted without the user having to directly touch the catheter tube (the portion of the catheter system that is inserted into the urethra).

No-touch catheters have been available on the market for several years; however, they are generally called closed system catheters or sterile catheter kits.

Closed system catheters are either pre-lubricated or have a hydrophilic coating that is easily activated by sterile water to become lubricated. What makes a no-touch closed system catheter truly unique is that it is an all-in-one option that is housed inside its own sterile collection bag. The catheter tube can be easily manipulated and advanced forward to insert into the urethra without touching it, which minimizes the risk of contamination from the hands.

Another benefit of closed system catheters is that the majority of them come with what is known as an introducer tip. The introducer tip is usually a pre-lubricated, soft, flexible cover that shields the tip of the actual catheter tube and helps it bypass the first short section of the urethra where the highest concentrations of bacteria can be found. This also does its part in potentially reducing the risk of contracting a UTI.

Many brands of closed systems will come packaged with additional insertion supplies that can make the cathing process even more hygienic. This may include items like gloves and antiseptic wipes.

WHY SHOULD I USE A NO-TOUCH CATHETER?

There are many reasons why using a no-touch catheter might be the best option for you, depending on your lifestyle, preferences, and needs.

Of course, the added protection against contamination from touching and bacteria, as mentioned above, is a huge reason why many people prefer and chose to use no-touch catheters.

Touch-free catheterization has been shown to be incredibly effective at preventing the onset of catheter associated UTIs in spinal cord injured people. Clinical studies have shown the use of a no-touch catheter is associated with a 30% UTI reduction and general low UTI rates of .68% in a study conducted with spinal cord injured people.

Medicare may also cover these advanced catheter products for catheters users who have experienced two or more documented urinary tract infections (UTIs) within a single year while using sterile straight intermittent catheters and sterile lubrication packets.

In hospitals, the introduction of no-touch catheter systems and techniques has been well accepted by both caregivers and patients, and has not been associated with higher costs. On the contrary, it has actually reduced costs while saving time and reducing infection complications in general, according to Clinical studies.

NO-TOUCH CATHETER OPTIONS

There are a few different options when it comes to choosing a no-touch catheter system, depending on your insurance coverage. If your insurance policy does not currently cover closed system catheters, which are billed under HCPC code A4353, you may still be able to qualify for a hydrophilic catheter.

Here are the two main options of no-touch catheters:

Closed System Catheters

Closed system catheters are the preferred cathing system for many, including people in wheelchairs, children, and those frequently travel, work, or go to school. This is because of their convenience as well as the ability to reduce the risk of infection with the all-in-one system and introducer tip, which helps minimize the risk of contamination or pushing harmful bacteria into the bladder. One of the most popular closed system catheters on the market is the Bard Touchless Plus kit, which features a patented catheter guide, allowing for better control during insertion.

Hydrophilic Catheters

Hydrophilic catheters come pre-hydrated and ready to use, or they can be easily activated by an included sterile water packet. Once it’s ready to use, the catheter stays optimally lubricated and offers a more comfortable, smooth insertion. Hydrophilic catheters work to minimize urethral friction, which can also help reduce the risk of infection. Most hydrophilic catheters are considered no-touch catheters, thanks to included handling sleeves that keep your hands off of the catheter tube and help guide the catheter into the urethra. You may be interested in the popular GentleCath™ Glide, a no-touch hydrophilic catheter for both males and females. It was created specifically to make cathing more comfortable and reduce the mess sometimes left behind by alternate brands of hydrophilic catheters.

Intermittent straight catheters are not typically considered no-touch catheters, but there are cathing techniques which can reduce the risk of contamination from your hands, such as using gloves and antiseptic wipes during your catheterization routine.

Still not sure which catheter option is right for you? Contact us today and speak with a trained catheter specialist who can help you decide which intermittent catheter is best for your unique circumstances. Your health is too important to risk not using the right catheter product.

Disclaimer: Please note that this post is not to be taken as medical advice and is only intended to provide a general understanding of the potential risks of reusing catheters according to research. This information should not be used in place of the recommendations and medical advice of your professional healthcare provider.

Sources:Bennett CJ, Young MN and Darrington H. PubMed. 1995.

Bennett CJ, Young MN, Razi SS, Adkins R, Diaz F, McCrary A. PubMed. 1997.


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About the Author:

Amy is the Web Marketing Specialist at 180 Medical. Her favorite thing about working at 180 Medical is being part of a company that is truly committed to improving the lives of its customers. When she's not at work she enjoys traveling, kayaking, rock climbing, and spending time with her husband and three, incredible stepkids.

The Number One Reason Why You Shouldn't Reuse Your Catheters

by Jessica April 11 2018 05:29
why you should not reuse your catheters

Have you ever wondered whether you should throw away your intermittent catheters after you use them once? If so, you're not the only one.

At 180 Medical, we occasionally hear from people who have been told that it's safe or economical to reuse their intermittent catheters. However, there's a very good reason why you may not want to risk washing and reusing your catheters!


The Surprise Risk of Reusing Catheters

UTIs (urinary tract infections) are a fairly common but painful ailment, and reusing catheters actually increases the risk of contracting this type of infection.

urinary tract infection medicationMultiple tests in professional research settings have indicated that there is a risk of contracting UTIs when reusing catheters even if the intermittent catheters are cleaned between uses.

In one laboratory test using PVC urethral catheters, it was found that a full antibacterial washing method still failed to sanitize 67% of the catheters.

No matter what your method of cleaning a catheter may be, pathogens and organisms, including E. coli, are often left behind in the tube and on its surface, and these can cause infections and illness. 

do not reuse catheters symbolThe FDA recommends that intermittent catheters be considered single use devices only. This is why you will see a small symbol that looks like a 2 with a slash over it (pictured to the right) printed on every catheter package. You can find out all about the rest of the symbols of your catheter's packaging and what they mean in this helpful blog

According to researchers at UBC (University of British Columbia), the idea that you can reuse your catheter without risk to your health is simply not true. A Vancouver clinician and professor of medicine at UBC, Dr. Andrei Krassioukov, pointed to his experience working at the Summer Paralympics in London. He found that the athletes who used their intermittent catheters once and then properly disposed of them experienced 3 to 4 times fewer UTIs than athletes who reused their catheters.


reusing catheters vs single use quote


Urinary Tract Infections From Reusing Catheters

If you've ever experienced a UTI, you already know how painful and uncomfortable this type of infection can be. Usually, this type of infection must be treated with a round of antibiotics prescribed by your doctor or other healthcare professional.

UTIs lead to over 7 million physician visits each year, according to a recently published study, and the financial costs associated with UTIs in the United States alone total around $1.6 billion dollars annually.

Some of the most common symptoms of UTIS include:
  • Smelly, cloudy, or bloody urine
  • Chills
  • Pain in the abdomen and back or pain when urinating
  • Burning sensation in the urethra
  • Increased need to go to the restroom
  • Urinary incontinence (inability to hold back your urine)
emergency roomIf you experience any of these symptoms, it's important to schedule a visit with your doctor as soon as possible so you can be treated before the symptoms progress.

When UTIs go untreated, the infection may spread upwards to the bladder and even into the kidneys.

Kidney infections can be dangerous to the point of life-threatening symptoms that may require a trip to the emergency room and hospitalization.

This is why it's so crucial to not only treat UTIs as soon as possible, but also to do all you can in practicing proper cathing hygiene to decrease your risk of infection.


UTI Prevention is Important

180 medical founder todd brownAt 180 Medical, we do all we can to make sure our customers are informed of their product options as well as the potential risks of reusing catheters.

In fact, 180 Medical's founder Todd Brown has personal experience with the pitfalls of reusing intermittent catheters. After Todd's spinal cord injury, he washed and reused his intermittent catheters, but he kept getting recurrent UTIs that dragged down his health and energy levels. This was all while he was trying to get back to a normal life after rehabilitation therapy. 

Thanks to some friends he met in the wheelchair racing community, Todd learned about sterile use (also called single use), which is the practice of using a catheter once and then disposing of it. He was also introduced to the world of advanced catheter products that are designed to reduce the risk of UTIs, like closed system catheters.

The recurrent UTIs that had plagued him went away, and Todd felt like his quality of life had taken a 180 degree turn.

180 medical customer serviceThis all led to Todd's decision to create 180 Medical. He wanted to be able to turn other's lives around too. 

Today, Todd's experience still guides us in all we do to provide our customers with high-quality, affordable urethral catheter products

We understand that the process of ordering intermittent catheters can be daunting. Our trained Catheter Specialists will gladly listen to your needs, preferences, and budgetary concerns.

We provide full information on all of the types of catheters available on the market as well as helpful instructional guides on how to self-cath.

When you order through 180 Medical, we handle all the work in contacting your doctor for any necessary documentation that your insurance plan may require, and we even offer free shipping to get your order right to your door. 

Contact us today to find the right catheter for you and start turning your life around!


Disclaimer: Please note that this post is not to be taken as medical advice and is only intended to provide a general understanding of the potential risks of reusing catheters according to research. This information should not be used in place of the recommendations and medical advice of your professional healthcare provider.


Sources: Kathleen Christison, Walter Matthias, Jean-Jacques J.M. Wyndaele, Michael Kennelly, Thomas M. Kessler, Vanessa K. Noonan, Fallah Nader, and Andrei V. Krassioukov. Journal of Neurotrauma. Apr 2018.

FME Wagenlehner, MD, PhD; KG Naber, MD, PhD. Urinary Tract Infections - General. www.antimicrobe.org



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About the Author:

Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for nearly 9 years. Her current job title is Purchasing & Marketing Coordinator. Her favorite things about 180 Medical are her great co-workers and getting to work for such a fun, caring company.

MTG Eagle Board for Quadriplegic Self-Catheterizing

by Mason April 6 2018 05:37
mtg eagle board for quadriplegic self catheterization

My name is Mason Ellis. I was involved in a car accident during my senior year of high school, which rendered me quadriplegic with a C5 spinal cord injury. You can read more about my story here. Since then, I have been actively working on beating my spinal cord injury every day.

It's my goal to use my experience to help and inspire others. I like to peer mentor and volunteer when I can, and one of my primary ways of reaching out to others with spinal cord injuries is through my YouTube channel.  My wide variety of original videos include educational information about quadriplegia, including what tenodesis is and why quadriplegics sometimes experience spasms, as well as helpful how-to videos like dressing yourself as a quadriplegic.


mason ellis


Self-Cathing After a Spinal Cord Injury

After a spinal cord injury, catheterizing may be a necessity, depending on your level of injury. Using intermittent catheters can keep your bladder from over-filling and prevent leakage. However, self-cathing can be difficult if you are a quadriplegic with poor hand dexterity. 

When I was first injured as a C5 quadriplegic, I was unable to self-cath until about a year after my injury. That's when 180 Medical introduced me to the MTG EZ-Gripper® closed system catheter. 

Another helpful product I recently discovered that can help quadriplegics and others with limited hand dexterity with the process of catheterization is the MTG Eagle™ Board. The Eagle™ Board, manufactured by MTG (Medical Technologies of Georgia), was created to help catheter-users with low or limited dexterity perform self-catheterization on their own.

This adaptive cathing board, pictured below, is designed to be used with the MTG EZ-Gripper® closed system catheter and works to help with inserting your catheter into the bladder. 


mtg eagle board pictured with ez gripper catheter


MTG Eagle™ Board's Features

The MTG Eagle™ Board has many features that can help male catheter-users who live with poor hand dexterity, whether due to a spinal cord injury or another condition like transverse myelitis or spina bifida.

The MTG Eagle™ Board's unique features include:

Repositionable "Wings"
The adjustable wings on the bottom of the Eagle Board allow it to rest comfortably between your thighs at just the right angle so your urine will flow easily into your closed system catheter bag.

mtg eagle board on catheter user's lapPants Hook
The adjustable pants hook holds your pants down for you, which frees your hands and makes catheterizing much easier.

Thumb Holes
There are two thumb or finger holes near the top of the Eagle Board that allow you to easily maneuver it between your legs or pick it up with minimal effort.

Housing Clip
The housing clip works to lock the catheter down to the Eagle Board securely, leaving your hands free. 

Penile Lever
The magnetic penile lever sets the penis in place for inserting the catheter tube. 

Foam Pads
The foam pads are used to keep soft contact against your skin and can be adjusted for different body types and even replaced if worn down after many uses.

Allen Screws
The Allen screws are used to tighten the adjustable wings, which keeps the board at the proper angle for inserting the catheter tube. 

Latex-Free
Convenient for those with latex allergies. 

Convenient Size & Design
The Eagle Board is also small and compact enough that you can carry it in a backpack or briefcase with ease wherever you go. If you get it dirty, it's easy to wash off and dry or wipe down with an antibacterial wipe, so you can reuse it every time you self-cath.


mtg eagle board for self cathing


How to Use the MTG Eagle™ Board

Take a look at my full video explaining how to use the MTG Eagle™ Board to get closer look at the size and shape of this helpful adaptive cathing accessory. I discuss and point out each of its features and give you a step-by-step tutorial of how to use the Eagle™ Board as a part of your cathing routine. 



Once you adjust the wings for the proper angle and attach the MTG EZ-Gripper® catheter, supplied by 180 Medical, press down on the blue handle (gripper) on the catheter tube and move your hand toward yourself to insert the tube into your urethra until it reaches the bladder and your urine starts to flow into the bag. I also have a video showing how to use the MTG EZ-Gripper®, if you'd like to learn more about this particular closed system catheter.

I have found that the MTG Eagle™ Board allows for easy catheter insertion because it provides a flat surface to press the catheter against.

180 medical catheterization instructional materials dvd and bookletIf you are newly injured or cannot self-catheterize due to limited hand dexterity, the MTG Eagle™ Board may be a great place to start in order to gain back some of your independence and health! The Eagle™ Board Kit from MTG includes the board, a penile sizing guide, additional foam pads, an Allen wrench, and a carry bag for your convenience.

For more information about how to cath, 180 Medical's catheter specialists are ready to help you find the right catheter for your needs and can walk you through the catheterization process, step by step. They also provide handy cathing instructions online for men, women, and children, and they can put an instructional DVD and full-color booklet in your order as well.

All pictures of the MTG Eagle™ Board have been provided courtesy of MTG. You can find more information about this product at their website.



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About the Author:

mason ellis 180 medical blog authorMason Ellis was injured in a car accident on January 19, 2015, which left him with a traumatic brain injury, several broken bones included his jaws, the top six front teeth, and his collarbone. He is now a C5/6/7 quadriplegic paralyzed from the neck down. Since his accident, he has connected with others with spinal cord injuries, family members, friends, and caregivers of someone with a spinal cord injury, therapists and doctors, and able-bodied individuals too. Every day, he refuses to let his spinal cord injury defeat him. His motto is to "live life just like I would've able-bodied." 

You can learn more about Mason in his 180 Medical blog feature, or connect with him and others living with spinal cord injuries on his Facebook page or by subscribing to his YouTube Channel.

Joseph Defied the Odds After His SCI to Walk Again

by Jessica January 24 2018 06:17
joseph stokes 180 medical scholarship recipients 2017

Earlier this year, we were proud to announce the seven 2017 180 Medical College Scholarship recipients. All of this year's recipients are so inspiring, and we're excited to let you know more about these bright students and their career goals.

Previously, we've introduced you to three of our seven recipients: MeghaFrank, and Chelsea. Today, get to know Joseph! 


joseph stokes 2017 scholarship


"Your Son Will Never Walk Again."

For Joseph Stokes, life has been all about sports and physical activity since as early as he can remember. He started playing t-ball at age four, and soon after that, he got into baseball and football. By high school, he was playing as a wide receiver. 

stokes and football teamJoseph was a regular fixture at every game, and he never missed a chance to be on the playing field. In the meantime, he worked hard to maintain his grades in the hope that one day he would play for a college football team when he graduated in 2017. 

But in November of 2015, Joseph's life changed forever when he was involved in a car accident on the way to school that resulted in an incomplete T-12 spinal cord injury.

He was rushed into surgery as soon as possible, during which two rods and eight screws were placed in his back. After the surgery, the doctors came out to let his parents know that the surgery was a success, but that Joseph would never walk again. 


A Special Visitor Helps to Inspire

When Joseph finally woke up, hearing his prognosis made him feel like the world was crumbling around him. He was discouraged, and it was hard seeing his loved ones so upset and concerned for him. Still, his friends, family, teammates, and his pastor often came by for visits, even after Joseph moved to the Shepherd Center to start his rehabilitation.

It was incredibly encouraging to know that his entire community had committed to support him and his family, even though he knew that there was a long, hard struggle ahead of him. 

Then one day, a spinal cord-injured motivational speaker named Bobby Ryals came to visit Joseph. As Bobby talked with him and demonstrated all he could still do while in a wheelchair, Joseph sat and listened. He watched as Bobby demonstrated the things he could still do in a wheelchair, and he began to grow more and more encouraged.

He began to feel like there was still a plan for him, and that's when he began to pray for a new path in life.


Turning Adversity into Achievement

Back when he first arrived at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Georgia, he was brought in while lying flat on his back on a stretcher. The many weeks of rehab were a struggle, but he maintained his faith and worked hard.

Although he still had to use a wheelchair occasionally, by the time he left the rehabilitation center to go home, he walked out with a cane.


joseph stokes senior pic scholarship recipient

Although he didn't stop going to games to support his teammates, it was an incredibly hard change to be off the field and on the sidelines rather than being in the middle of the action as a wide receiver. Joseph said, "My dreams were shattered...but I knew God had other plans for me."

He decided he wanted to do everything he could to help others, so he began doing volunteer work with various organizations in and outside of his community. Today, he continues to volunteer, and he has also become a peer mentor to others with spinal cord injuries. 

Since then, he has chosen a career path toward Exercise Physiology. Eventually, he hopes to work with Paralympic athletes.

Joseph, we're inspired by your courage and determination, and we wish you all the best on your journey through college.

About the 180 Medical Scholarship

College isn't always easy to afford, and we know that there can often be extra financial hardship heaped on students who live with conditions like spinal cord injuries, spina bifida, ostomies (ileostomy, urostomy, and/or colostomy), transverse myelitis, and neurogenic bladder. That's why 180 Medical established a scholarship program to help those aspiring students work toward achieving their dreams.

We're accepting applications for the 2018 180 Medical College Scholarship Program now through June 1, 2018! Download an application and get full information at www.180medical.com/scholarships.

180 medical scholarship program for ostomy sci spina bifida

About the Author:

Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for 8 years and is the Purchasing & Marketing Coordinator. Her favorite things about 180 Medical are her great co-workers and getting to work for a company that truly cares both for its employees and its customers.

 

Our Top 10 Most Popular Blog Posts of 2017

by Jessica December 29 2017 14:36
180 medical's top 10 most popular blog posts of 2017

2017 has been a wonderful year for 180 Medical, and we certainly hope it's been a year of good health and fun for you too!

We posted a lot of blogs over the year, including topics like the latest catheter and ostomy product news, fun company happenings and charitable events in our community, in-depth looks at our inspiring 2017 Scholarship Program recipients, and as always, helpful and informative posts related to intermittent catheters, ostomy supplies, and more.

While we look forward ahead to all the great things coming in 2018, we've compiled this list of 180 Medical's ten most popular blog posts from 2017!


top blogs of 2017 10top blogs of 2017 10 Steps to Receiving Your Ostomy Supplies
If you are about to undergo or have recently had an ostomy surgery (whether ileostomy, urostomy, or colostomy), you're probably looking for some of the most concise, helpful basics about how to start getting the ostomy products and accessories that you will need. From getting the right fit and the necessary supplies for your individual needs to getting your very first shipment, 180 Medical is here to help and support you the whole way!


top blogs of 2017 9Why Do I Need to Use Coudé Catheters?
If you've been advised by your doctor that you need to use a curved tip or coudé catheter, you might be wondering what this kind of urinary catheter is for and why you need to use this type rather than the standard straight tip. This blog post sums up everything you need to know about what coudé catheters are, what they're used for, factors or conditions that contribute to the need to use a coudé tip instead of a straight tip catheter, as well as information on how to insert and use a coudé catheter.


top blogs of 2017 8Determined Spirit: Jen Goodwin's Story of Life After Her Spinal Cord Injury
We are honored by being able to feature some of our customers on our blog along with their unique stories, and when you read Jen's story, you can see why she is such a delight to speak with, as well as a true inspiration to all who know her. Jen could have chosen to give up after an accident left her quadriplegic. Instead, she decided to set her sights high and began achieving her goals, one after the other. A lot of readers, including everyone at 180 Medical, were awed by Jen and her incredible story.


top blogs of 2017 7Tips for Preventing the Risk of UTIs When Cathing
UTIs (urinary tract infections) are not all that uncommon to people who use catheters. Find out more about some of the most common symptoms of UTIs, some risk factors, as well as the best ways to prevent the recurrence of infections.


top blogs of 2017 6Bladder Cancer: Symptoms and Risk Factors
Did you know that bladder cancer is the 5th most commonly diagnosed cancer in the USA? It's important to know some of the potential causes/risks as well as symptoms. The sooner bladder cancer can be diagnosed, the sooner treatment and recovery can begin.


top blogs of 2017 5Tips for Holiday Travel When You Have Urinary Incontinence
Traveling around the busy holidays, whether by car or plane, can be stressful enough without also dealing with urinary incontinence. We've got the tips to help you navigate traveling, whether by car or plane, including TSA regulations for carry-on luggage, helpful smartphone apps to find public bathrooms, and other helpful information.


top blogs of 2017 4Beating Spinal Cord Injury One Day at a Time: Mason Ellis's Story
Since a car accident in Mason's senior year of high school left him quadriplegic, he has been determined to beat his injury. He has become an inspiration to many through his determination and sincere desire to connect with others and help them. Find out all about what he does now to help others, including starting up his own successful YouTube channel to help others with spinal cord injuries and limited mobility accomplish tasks like dressing, dealing with spasms, self-cathing, and more.


top blogs of 2017 3Top 10 Reasons to Work at 180 Medical
180 Medical has been voted one of the Best Places to Work in Oklahoma (based on employee's anonymous feedback) for eight years for many reasons. If you're seeking a career with a company that devotes itself to core values like compassion and integrity where you can truly make a difference, check out some of the top reasons to apply at 180 Medical.


top blogs of 2017 2What are the Basics of Clean Intermittent Catheterization?
Intermittent catheterization doesn't sound fun or easy when you're brand new to it, but with the right information and instructions at hand, you can become a seasoned pro at self-cathing. Check out our helpful post on the basics of what intermittent urinary catheters and the process of cathing is all about.


top blogs of 2017 1Pocket Catheters 101
Pocket catheters are all the buzz in the cathing world this year, and we suspect the trend for discreet, travel-ready catheters will continue as more people find out about these handy urinary catheter options. Find out all about what pocket catheters are and why they are both popular and beneficial for many catheter-users, and take a look at a few of the many options available at 180 Medical.

Thank you for reading our blog! We at 180 Medical wish you and your loved ones a happy, healthy new year to come, and we hope you'll join us for all the informative and interesting posts in 2018.


About the Author:

Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for 8 years and is the Purchasing & Marketing Coordinator. Her favorite things about 180 Medical are her great co-workers and getting to work for a company that truly cares both for its employees and its customers.

 

Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Day Honored at 180 Medical

by Jessica September 29 2017 05:13
This is our second year at 180 Medical to set aside a special day to honor all those living with spinal cord injuries, including many of our patients, family, and friends, as well as our founder Todd Brown. We like to take time to do what we can to raise awareness about spinal cord injuries both in and outside of work, and our Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Day gave our employees an opportunity to not only help raise funds to directly benefit people living with spinal cord injuries but also experience firsthand what it's like to maneuver around the workplace in a wheelchair. 

spinal cord injury awareness at 180 medical

Representing in Green

We all made it a point to wear green on SCI Day. Some of us wore green t-shirts or cardigans, even green pants and glasses frames, and others went all the way and wore as much green as they could! One of our employees even dyed his beard green for the day.

We felt that wearing green, which is the official color for Spinal Cord Injury Awareness, would be a great way to show our support and join in solidarity as a group for the cause.

180 medical wearing green for spinal cord injury awareness day


Raising Funds for the Spinal Cord Injured

Part of the fun of SCI Day was our lunchtime fundraiser, which was held at both our warehouse and our main headquarters locations here in Oklahoma City. Everyone enjoyed a few slices of pizza and brownies, and it was even more delicious knowing we were raising funds for a great cause.

Together, as a company, all employees were given the opportunity to vote which organization we want to support with this year's SCI Day Pizza & Brownie Fundraiser. We were excited to find out that by the end of the day, we had raised over $500, which will directly go to benefit people with spinal cord injuries at the organization, Will2Walk.

180 medical spinal cord injury awareness fundraiser

SCI Day Wheelchair Challenge

As part of our Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Day, we wanted to give our employees a chance to take the Wheelchair Challenge and spend time during the day in a manual wheelchair. Since our company specializes in intermittent catheters and related urological supplies, along with ostomy supplies, we interact regularly with many customers who live with spinal cord injuries and use catheters daily.

We truly care about each of our customers as if they were a part of our 180 family, and it's important for us to take time to know as much as we can about spinal cord injuries as well as the challenges that those living with SCI face on a regular basis.

180 medical spinal cord injury awareness wheelchair challenge


Even though our employees were only able to get a half hour of maneuvering around in a wheelchair to make sure everyone who signed up had a chance, the impact it made was clear! Every person learned something from their experience.

Some of the biggest challenges that our many participants discovered were getting in and out of the handicapped stall in the bathroom, holding and carrying food and drinks, trying to get items from shelves, getting on and off the elevator, maneuvering through doorways, and going any place outside, especially uphill ramps and inclines.

Brent, one of our Documentation Specialists, discovered first-hand how difficult getting around and completing daily tasks can be from the seat of a wheelchair. He says, "I see now more than ever how someone with a spinal cord injury must be incredibly strong, both mentally and physically. I respect them very much." 

sci connectionThere were many challenges that some told us they had never considered before, like opening a refrigerator door and getting items out or even going to the restroom.

Amanda from our Accounting department learned that, "I have full advantage of what appears to be the simplest tasks, like reaching the top shelves in the break room, using the stairs, walking across the sidewalk without running into things. I feel truly honored to work for a company that takes the extra step to help support those with spinal cord injuries and other conditions."

Customer Specialist Meghan said she found going uphill the most trying challenge, but her personal experience was really moving and brings to light one of the big issues that many living with spinal cord injuries face. "It takes a lot of work just moving around. Without the help of others, it can feel very isolating," she told us.

This is such a big part of why we want to raise awareness. We want those living with spinal cord injuries to know they are not alone! There are support groups and great in-person communities that those with spinal cord injuries can join, and there are activities like adaptive sports, arts, and crafts that many can still participate in, depending on their injury level. 

Greg, also one of our Customer Specialists, summed up what he learned with four simple but serious words: "Take nothing for granted."

This year really helped many more of us realize just a fraction of the challenges that those living with spinal cord injuries face, and we were all happy to do our part in raising awareness. Overall, SCI Day at 180 Medical was once again a fun and educational time that allowed us all a chance to participate and give back during Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month.


sci month footer

About the Author:
Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for 8 years. Her current job title is Purchasing & Marketing Coordinator. Her favorite things about 180 Medical are her great co-workers and getting to work for such a fun, caring company.

180 Medical Honors Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month

by Jessica September 20 2017 06:00
September is dedicated to raising awareness about spinal cord injuries (SCI). This is an especially important time to 180 Medical, since our founder lives with a spinal cord injury, as well as many of our customers, who we consider a part of the 180 family!

spinal cord injury awareness month 2017


What Is Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month?

Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month is a time to spread awareness about spinal cord injuries, the potential risk factors, and safety precautions that can be taken to reduce the number of injuries in the future. At the same time, it's incredibly important to acknowledge the many living with spinal cord injuries in the world today and pay tribute to their bravery and perseverance.

According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, here are some of the most recent facts about spinal cord injuries:
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Around 285,000 people are living with spinal cord injuries in the United States.

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About 17,500 new spinal cord injury cases occur in the United States every year.

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Males account for about 81% of new spinal cord injury cases.

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The leading causes of spinal cord injuries are vehicle crashes, followed by falls, acts of violence, and sports.



The effects of spinal cord injuries are often life-altering, but even so, those affected can live normal, healthy lives after rehabilitation. Many people with spinal cord injuries go on to achieve things many thought impossible or use their experience to help positively impact others' lives, like Mason Ellis, Jen Goodwin, and Tricia Downing, just to name a few.

todd brown founder of 180 medicalOur company's founder, Todd Brown, is also a wonderful example of this, and of course, his experience makes the cause of Spinal Cord Injury Awareness very dear to our hearts here at 180 Medical.

After being paralyzed from the chest down in a motocross accident, Todd discovered first-hand what it was like to readjust to the world navigating in a wheelchair. He dealt with urinary tract infections while reusing catheters and also had the unfortunate experience of finding out that there weren't many companies out there with employees who truly seemed to care or have much knowledge about his condition or the products he needed.

That experience is what led him to create 180 Medical in order to help others living with spinal cord injuries and other conditions that require the use of catheters, related urologic supplies, and ostomy products, in the hope that he could help turn their lives around. 

180 Medical Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Day

To honor Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month as well as raise awareness, 180 Medical is planning a company SCI Day at our Oklahoma City headquarters on September 27th for the second year. We'll have some fun opportunities for our employees to get involved, such as a pizza fundraiser, wearing green for awareness, and more!

180 medical sci awareness day 2016

At 180 Medical, we truly care about raising awareness about spinal cord injuries just as much as we care about every single one of our customers. We see firsthand how much this type of injury can impact and change lives.

sci connectionThanks to new research into spinal cord injuries, technology continues to advance in order to make everyday life more adaptable for those living with spinal cord injuries, including products such as closed system catheters, which provide an easier and more hygienic way to self-cath for many.

We make it a point to do what we can to support spinal cord injury groups, including our SCI Day Pizza Fundraiser, and we participate in community events when we can, such as the recent INTEGRIS Jim Thorpe Rehab Courage Run and the annual Corporate Challenge, which goes to support disabled athletes in the Endeavor Games.

If you or a loved one are newly injured and looking for a catheter supplier who will offer you compassion and understanding, we're here for you!

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About the Author:
Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for 8 years. Her current job title is Purchasing & Marketing Coordinator. Her favorite things about 180 Medical are her great co-workers and getting to work for such a fun, caring company.

Discovering New Possibilities at Tricia Downing's Camp Discovery

by Jessica September 7 2017 06:42
camp discovery for women with disabilities and spinal cord injuries


Tricia Downing has always been a competitive, physically active person from as early as she can remember. As a child, she enjoyed swimming, gymnastics, and running, among other activities, but her true love was bicycling and competitively racing.

She could never have imagined that a day spent doing her favorite thing in the world would end with her in the hospital, unable to feel her legs, after she was hit by a car. In one fateful moment, her life was changed forever.

Life after her accident might have been much different if she'd chosen to let it keep her down. It would've been easy to give up, but she had an undying passion to stay active and overcome her challenges.

tricia downing spinal cord injury


After the Spinal Cord Injury

After she'd been knocked from her bicycle over the hood of the car, the minutes until the emergency services arrived felt excruciatingly long, but soon, she was escorted quickly to St. Anthony's Hospital in Denver. Over three weeks were spent there in intensive care, as they tried to determine the full extent of her injuries. After that, she was transferred to Craig Hospital for the rehabilitation process, where she had to re-learn how to accomplish basic daily tasks like transferring from her wheelchair to her bed, getting in and out of the shower on her own, and more.

tricia downing paraplegic hand cyclingThe physical and occupational therapy she received was the foundation for her new life, but her time spent in recreational therapy, also known as rec therapy, became her favorite thing to do while she was still in the rehabilitation hospital. Her rec therapist let her know that she was going to help Tricia get back to doing the things she loved and introduce her to new activities too. Tricia was introduced to hand-cycling, and after one ride, she was hooked. 

New Wheels Rolling

One of the first things Tricia decided to do after being released from rehab was to get involved in wheelchair sports. She knew it would be a challenge, but she wanted to face it all head-on and not let her injury hold her back from doing things she loved.


"I think one of the things about having an accident such as this, having a change of life, is that it really makes you look inside and see who you are. When I got out of Craig Hospital, I knew that I could do more with myself. I basically got a second chance, so I knew I had to do something great."



trish downing paraplegic athlete paralympics headshotSince her accident, she has completed over 100 races, including marathons, and she was the first female paraplegic to complete an Ironman triathlon. She also qualified for the Hawaii Ironman World Championships in 2006 and 2010 and competed on the U.S. Rowing team in the World Championship in 2011.

Eventually, she was drawn to the competitive sport of shooting in 2014, and she finished 17th in a 2015 World Cup event. She also competed on the U.S. Team in the 2016 Paralympics in Rio.

Still, there were more goals for Tricia while she continued leading a physically active lifestyle and competing in sports. She wanted to give back to others who had been injured or had disabilities. She wanted to be equipped to help them find a way to enjoy fitness and physical activity, just like her. So, with that goal in mind, she became a professional speaker and also decided to go back to school, where she completed Master's Degrees in both Disability Studies and Sports Management.

This became the foundation for her next big goal.

Opening New Doors With Camp Discovery

camp discovery yoga for women with spinal cord injuriesIn 2009, nine years after her accident, Tricia founded a camp in Colorado specifically for women 21-years-old and up who are in wheelchairs for conditions like spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, spina bifida, and other conditions. Aptly named Camp Discovery, this camp helps these women to redefine their lives and forget the old limits. The three-day camp teaches female wheelchair-users all about physical fitness but also allows them to have time to create new friendships with others with similar experiences and obstacles. Combining holistic and physical wellness practices, the camp activities help women to find a place of confidence, security, and self-acceptance. 

Over the years, the camp has grown, and women from all over the country attend each year at the beautiful Rocky Mountain Village in Empire, Colorado. In addition to being able to commune with one another and forge new friendships, the female camp-goers are offered the opportunities to participate in such sports and activities as:

  • Wheelchair tennis
  • SCUBA diving
  • Horseback riding
  • Art therapy
  • Nutrition classes
  • Massage
  • Yoga and pilates
  • Swimming
  • Sled hockey
  • Kayaking 
  • and more!

trish downing at camp discovery

Tricia wanted to be able to show women in wheelchairs that there is still fun to be had in life, no matter their condition, and to let them know that they're not alone. Today, her goal continues to be helping others overcome their fears and limiting beliefs to unlock new possibilities for themselves.

You can find out more information about Camp Discovery at: thecycleofhope.org/campdiscovery




Today, Tricia continues to be involved at Camp Discovery each year, and she also does professional speaking engagements to talk about her life path and motivate others to believe in themselves, no matter their disability or condition.

Learn more about Tricia and her amazing story at: triciadowning.com  

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About the Author:

Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for 8 years. Her current job title is Purchasing & Marketing Coordinator. Her favorite things about 180 Medical are her great co-workers and getting to work for such a fun, caring company.


Beating Spinal Cord Injury One Day at a Time: Mason Ellis's Story

by Jessica August 16 2017 06:09
mason ellis beating spinal cord injury quadriplegia

Vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes of spinal cord injuries. In fact, more than 35% of new spinal cord injuries each year are from car or motorcycle accidents. In 2015, just after the second semester of his senior year of high school began, Mason Ellis was involved in an car accident that left him a quadriplegic. From the beginning, he refused to allow his injury to beat him. Instead, he has made it his focus to defeat his injury one day at a time.

mason ellis quadriplegic

The Accident & the Aftermath

Mason couldn't have ever imagined that a fun night out with a friend driving along country roads in his home state of Indiana would lead to life in a wheelchair. After an unexpected four-way stop that dipped into a decline on a loose gravel, his car went out of control and hit an embankment, ejecting Mason nearly a hundred feet away. The car was totaled, but Mason was still alive, against all odds.
mason ellis SCI car accident
He was rushed to the hospital, and the doctors and nurses weren't sure he'd make it due to the extent of his injuries. In the crash, Mason's left shin, left femur, left collarbone, top and bottom jaw, the palate in his mouth, and some of his teeth were broken. On top of that, he cracked his skull and sustained a traumatic brain injury, and the fifth, sixth, and seventh cervical vertebrae in his neck were injured. He was now quadriplegic (C5, C6, C7).



Mason recovered in the hospital for 30 days before being transferred to the Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana to start physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy (due to his brain injury). The rest of his time was devoted to learning how to gain independence back with skills like eating and brushing his teeth on his own. 

Although he looked forward to returning to his old routine after he was released from rehab, when he got home, he realized that life as a quadriplegic was going to be far more of a challenge than anticipated. Mason says, "I was clueless when I came home, and I didn't know anybody else who had my level of injury." After a few visits from a physical therapist and an occupational therapist, Mason was left on his own to learn how to maneuver in the world again as a newly paralyzed young man. 

On top of navigating life in a wheelchair, he also had to become responsible for his own catheterization routine. Mason was introduced to 180 Medical through his rehabilitation hospital, and once he discovered an intermittent catheter that worked well for his limited hand dexterity, he began to feel more confident about self-cathing.

mtg ez gripper closed system catheter mason ellis

Mason says, "I have to say the MTG EZ-Gripper really helps in preventing UTIs for me. It's a closed system, so you don't have to touch the tubing, and it has an introducer tip to bypass bacteria in the urethra." At 180 Medical, we have one of the largest selections of intermittent catheters, since no type or brand will be the right fit for everyone. We're always glad to take time to listen to our customers so we can help them find the right catheters for their individual needs and preferences.

Making a Positive Impact

Sharing Knowledge Through Videos 
As time went on, Mason says, "I hadn't really figured out how to do many things post-injury." Left with few options for information on how to complete tasks as a quadriplegic, such as daily strength exercises and getting dressed independently, he began scouring the internet for helpful resources. Unfortunately, his search came up short. The few videos he found weren't quite what he was looking for, and he figured that others like him might also be searching for the same information. He wanted to share his experience and how he has learned to do daily tasks that quadriplegics might want to know more about. That's when he decided he would take matters into his own hands; he would use his prior experience of making YouTube videos prior to his injury to create new video content and upload it to share on a YouTube channel

Soon, he started to hear from other people with spinal cord injuries who wanted to let him know how helpful his videos were. Family, friends, and loved ones of those living with spinal cord injuries also gave him positive feedback. To his surprise, he even heard from doctors, caregivers, therapists, and students learning about quadriplegia in medical school. 

Every day, more and more people discover the multitude of helpful videos Mason has personally worked so hard to create. He has hundreds of ideas left to offer, and he's excited to continue on this path and further develop his channel to connect and talk with others.


Some of Mason's most popular videos include:

Peer Mentoring Others with Spinal Cord Injuries
mason ellis peer mentor"People say I came a long way based on everything I broke. I haven't had many complications, and I feel really thankful for that," Mason says. Quadriplegics often face complications such as pressure sores and UTIs (urinary tract infections), and knowing this, Mason wanted to do what he could to help them.

He is now a certified Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation peer mentor, and he visits his old rehab to talk with recently injured patients before they are discharged to go back home.

During these mentoring sessions, Mason likes to share some of what he's learned, such as:
  • maintaining and gaining strength
  • proper hygiene
  • products that have helped him
  • staying mindful of the importance of doing pressure reliefs to minimize the risk of pressure sores


"I'm passionate about peer mentoring, because [my injury] really affected my life. I like to try and help out the community."



Staying Active & Meeting New People
Mason is more physically active now than he was before his injury. "I feel like I took being able-bodied for granted," he says, "So I never tried. Now, this is like proving to myself that I can do it and proving to others they're wrong if they say I can't do it." Some of the things he loves to do is hunt, fish, and ride in his adaptive UTV to visit friends and roam around the town where he lives.

mason ellis at camp possabilityOne place he loves to visit in the summer is a local camp in Indiana for disabled adults, ages 18-35, who have conditions like spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, and spinal cord injuries. At Camp PossAbility, young adults get the opportunity to meet and befriend others like them and participate in fun outdoor adventures like adaptive horseback riding, swimming, kayaking, zip-lining, and more. Mason learned about the camp when someone reached out to him about it through his YouTube channel.

He was also able to connect with the creator of Able Outdoors Magazine, and now Mason is a contributing columnist for the magazine. He writes about some of his experiences with hunting and other fun adaptive outdoor activities.

When he mentors others, he likes to talk about some of these hobbies in order to let them know that life isn't over for them, and they can still do all the things they loved doing before in new, adaptive ways.

Looking Forward to Whatever Comes Next

mason ellis standing Outside of his growing YouTube channel, Mason keeps busy with college courses in Information Technology, and he hopes to have his car adapted so he can start driving again. He just wants keep moving forward.

Mason says, "I think it feels good to beat your injuries. It took me a while to figure everything out, but I like to say that I beat my injury when I learn certain tasks. I don't want the injury beating me."

Mason has already positively affected hundreds of lives with his videos, Able Outdoors columns, connecting with others at camp, and taking time to talk to people who need help adapting to their new life in a wheelchair after a spinal cord injury. We're sure he's going to go on to do many more great things and continue impacting others in significant ways. 


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About the Author:
Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for 8 years. Her current job title is Purchasing & Marketing Coordinator. Her favorite things about 180 Medical are her great co-workers and getting to work for such a fun, caring company.


Making Dreams Come True After Spinal Cord Injury: Jen Goodwin's Continuing Story

by Jessica July 6 2017 06:11


Jen Goodwin's whole world drastically changed in single moment after a fun day boating on the lake went terribly wrong, and she sustained a serious spinal cord injury at the C5 and C6 level. After her surgery and over two years of rehab, she returned back home and began to adjust to daily life as a quadriplegic. Daily tasks that were once done without a second thought, like brushing teeth and going to the bathroom, became new skills to re-master. With a lot of practice and time, Jen kept moving forward and became acquainted to daily life in a wheelchair.

Being a very goal-oriented person who thrives on a challenge, Jen decided she was ready to tackle something new. Life was going well as Jen settled into her new routine, but she was ready to start thinking about what could be next for her. Since she had demonstrated an interest in law before, her mom suggested that she ought to try taking the LSAT (Law School Admission Test). It was a surprise and a joy to find out that she performed even better than expected, and she ended up getting a full scholarship to Bowen School of Law at the University of Arkansas.

Back to School

jen goodwin law school graduate quadriplegic Returning to school as an adult in a wheelchair was a whole new challenge to face. She wouldn't know anyone in her new classes at all, and there were other questions on her mind now too. How would she take notes and tests when she wasn't able to write? Would the school buildings be accessible for her? Of course, these were perfectly normal concerns to have.

"I think a lot of people are afraid to go back to school after [spinal cord] injuries," Jen says, "But talk to your local Vocational Rehabilitation Services, because they have a lot of resources and information to help get people back to school. And talk to your school's Disability Resource Center. They really want to help! Even if your injury prevents you from taking notes and typing, there are still ways to be successful in school."

Jen arranged some meetings with her school's Disability Resource Center, and she was relieved to find the staff ready and willing to discuss options with her. Together, they worked out what accommodations and adjustments would need to be made in order to ensure that she would have the same opportunities for success as every other able-bodied student at the law school, such as keypads to open doors, accessible bathrooms near her classes, digital copies of textbooks, and setting her up with classmates who could take lecture notes for her.

Another Dream Come True

jen goodwin spinal cord injury family Jen worked as diligently as possible at all her courses while still making time to get to know the other law students in her classes. After a year of school, she decided it was time to focus on one of the greatest wishes of her heart: to become a mother.

At the time, there were a few people who had some opinions on her life and even doubted that Jen could handle all of these responsibilities along with having a child of her own, but she didn't let that hold her back. Talking to Jen and hearing her story in her own words would certainly make you realize that her tenacity and optimism keeps her moving forward, and there's no obstacle she's not willing to work hard to overcome. 

With the support of her doctor and her family, she picked an anonymous donor and became pregnant at just the right time during winter break, so she could spend much of the time during her first trimester out of classes. The time off was spent practicing and working with a weighted doll to find the best techniques for lifting car seats, changing her baby's clothes, and more, all while an accessible nursery for her baby boy was added on to her home. Spring semester classes went on without a hitch, and then just after school let out in the summer, little Beckham made his early arrival in June.

Today, he has a mother who loves him more than anything in the world and a wonderful support system of close family and friends, especially Jen's parents and sister.

Jen's lifelong dream of being a mom had finally come true.


Looking to the Future

So what's next for Jen now that she's graduated from law school as of May of this year? Right now, Jen is prepping for the bar exam, and after that, she starts a two-year internship working with the legal department of the local children's hospital, which seems like the perfect fit for a woman with such a big heart for children. Plus she can bring her own experiences with the legal system and living with a disability.

"I am a firm believer that the right doors open when they're supposed to," says Jen, "So we'll see what happens after that!"

We're so excited to see all the ways that Jen will go forward to achieve more dreams as well as positively impact others' lives during her journey. There were certainly obstacles along the way, but she came out on the other side with a smile, a law degree, and a son of her own. Limitations and setbacks may happen in life, but Jen is living proof that with optimism and tenacity, nothing can hold you back.

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Read Part 1 of our two-part series on Jen's life, her accident, and her time in rehab.

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About the Author:
Jessica has worked for 180 Medical for nearly 8 years. Her current job title is Purchasing & Marketing Coordinator. Her favorite things about 180 Medical are her great co-workers and getting to work for such a fun, caring company.