By Joe Napsha
Tribune-Review, Greensburg, Pa.
An ambitious Yough High School graduate has developed an inexpensive negative pressure pump to heal acute and chronic wounds, a device that she says will be affordable to low-income populations because it does not need electricity or batteries to operate and has a unique, simplified design.
“My goal is to have the company that saves healthcare systems the most money globally,” said Danielle R. Zurovcik, 33, of Boston, a 1999 Yough High School graduate.
Zurovcik, the daughter of Andrew and Patricia Zurovcik of Sewickley Township, is the founder and chief executive officer of Boston-based Worldwide Innovative Healthcare Inc. , a Massachusetts Institute of Technology spinoff dedicated to providing affordable, technologically-appropriate medical devices to under-served populations.
Zurovcik’s fledgling company, founded in 2013, has created a low-cost, easy-to-use plastic pump — essentially a bellows toilet plunger without the handle and connected to tubing — that can be attached to open wounds filled with gauze or foam, then sealed with airtight tape that will hold for at least three days. The device, affordable to those earning less than $5 a day, increases blood circulation to the wound and removes infectious fluids from the wound, she said.
“I feel we have the most universal device design, and we do not need electricity,” to operate the wound pump, or batteries which must be replaced on a periodic basis and would be too expensive for many to use, said Zurovcik, who is her company’s only full-time employee.
Zurovcik has put her extensive education in mechanical engineering — a bachelor’s degree from Penn State University and her master’s and doctorate degrees from MIT — to good use in designing the Wound-Pump. She honed her business skills at Penn State by operating a bike messenger service on campus and at MIT, where she earned a minor in technology, innovation and entrepreneurship at the MIT Sloan School of Management.