Meet Derek Herrera, with Spinal Singularity.

A decorated Special Operations Officer, Derek recently medically-retired from the Marine Corps. In June of 2012, during a combat mission in the Helmand Province in Afganistan, Derek was shot in the upper back by an enemy fighter and was paralyzed from the injury site, down. In addition to loss of the ability to walk, the paralysis resulted in a condition called Neurogenic Bladder, which is the inability to sense fullness of the bladder and control voiding. Like others with this condition, Derek now must insert a disposable catheter to void his bladder 5 to 7 times per day, a process that Derek describes as “the most challenging task I face on a daily basis.”Derek-Herrera2

Neurogenic bladder is common not only among paraplegics, but can also affect those suffering from Alhzeimers, brain tumors, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s and stroke. If mismanaged, it can lead to kidney failure and even death.

Not one to shrink from a challenge, the incredible drive and discipline that made Derek a decorated Marine Officer have led him to recently earn an MBA from UCLA while facing the daily challenges of living as a paraplegic. Now his is focusing his energies on his new business, which is creating solutions for himself and others with Neurogenic Bladder. His company, Spinal Singularity, is developing a product called The Connected Catheter ™.

The device will be a semi-permanent, minimally-invasive, “smart catheter” system that measures bladder pressure and wirelessly transmits bladder status to a smartphone.  Additionally, this catheter will allow the user to control a valve to empty urine from the bladder, eliminating the need for intermittent catheters and drainage bags, and allowing for more normal sexual function.  The Connected Catheter is fully internalized in the body to reduce the risk of infection, and is inserted/removed by the user (or clinician) via minimally invasive means.

Symbient is proud to work with Derek and his team at Spinal Singularity by providing our design engineering expertise to further development of the Connected Catheter. He was hero on the battlefield and, as he realizes his goal to develop The Connected Catheter, he will be a hero to others who have Neurogenic Bladder.

Spinal Singularity has recently launched an IndieGoGo campaign to raise support and awareness for The Connected Catheter. Meet Derek via his video and learn more about Neurogenic Bladder and the innovative solution that could change the lives of millions of people.