Starting a business (especially a company that disrupts a forty-year-old standard of care) is a rollercoaster ride. On good days, its easy; all your motivation can come from external sources. On days your down, you need something else - an internal motivation. On those days I reflect on why I’m doing what I’m doing. I’m sure I speak for our whole team when I say, that motivation comes from the relationships we’ve developed with the many patients, survivors, physicians, caregivers, husbands and wives, mothers and daughters that we’ve met during this journey.
The incredible people we’ve met told us that dealing with jp drains was one the worst parts of their overall experience, and that they were a constant and visceral reminder of what they were going through. They told us how they’ve seen loved ones feel uncomfortable to be around them, or feel self-conscious about being in public. Conservatively, 650,000 people a year struggle with these antiquated and cumbersome drains at home – an environment for which these systems were never really originally intended. When we talk with patients who have experienced jp drains, they are visibly relieved that someone is working on this problem.
When I talk to our surgeons who, originally explained the problem to us, I get motivated too, because of the real possibility our device has to not only improve patients lives, but also to achieve clinically relevant outcomes as well. One of the exciting possibilities, highlighted in a recent study, is that by applying a greater level of suction than current drains apply, physicians may be able to reduce the incidence of complications like seroma, which has been linked to things like surgical site infection (SSI), and even higher rates of lymphedema in mastectomy patients. These are important problems to hospitals and physicians and we have the amazing opportunity to do something about it.
This is why Esra and I are so passionate about what we’re doing, and why we’ve given up the other opportunities we could have pursued. For her, it meant deferring professorship and work on her scientific grant she’d worked to hard to receive and make progress on, and for me it meant deferring a fully funded PhD offer at my dream school. I believe that we have a fundamental obligation to improve the lives of those around us, and with SOMAVAC, we have the opportunity to create solutions that will help people in a direct and tangible way. So on those days you don’t see in the movie montage, when things aren’t going well, we can rely on the knowledge that we’re going to really help people, and that makes us push even harder than we do on the easy days.