‘Shower Shirt’ Creator To Attend Expo At Republican Convention

By  //  August 8, 2012

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entrepreneurship & healthcare

“I would venture to say that those individuals on the government coding committee that deemed the product a “convenience” item have never had their breasts amputated.” – Lisa Crites

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – In 2009, after Lisa Crites underwent a double mastectomy, the Cocoa Beach, Florida resident created the Shower Shirt, a waterproof garment designed so mastectomy patients could shower without risking serious infection.

Lisa Crites, above demonstrating her invention, knows that the current healthcare overhaul will probably create even more obstacles for her Shower Shirt, but she is hopeful that being part of Huffington Post/Startup America’s non-partisan entrepreneur expo at the Republican National Convention Aug. 29 may help her product’s future. (Image for SpaceCoastDaily.com)

Physicians recommend mastectomy patients not bathe for a couple of weeks subsequent to surgery in order to prevent water from seeping bacteria – and infections – into the post-surgical drains at the surgical site.

Before Crites invented the Shower Shirt, mastectomy patients usually threw a plastic bag over their heads for impromptu protection during a bath. So did Crites, who didn’t like it one bit.

“It’s a humiliating and ridiculous experience at a time when you are going through an emotional roller coaster,” said Crites.

Mother of Invention

Crites is proof that necessity is the mother of invention, for the Shower Shirt is the child she has nurtured to maturity. The product, which she has successfully brought to market, is the first water-resistant garment that protects breast cancer and mastectomy patients from water while showering before surgical drains are removed.

Crites is proof that necessity is the mother of invention, for the Shower Shirt is the child she has nurtured to maturity. The product, which she has successfully brought to market, is the first water-resistant garment that protects breast cancer and mastectomy patients from water while showering before surgical drains are removed. (Image for SpaceCoastDaily.com)

Patients love it, as do physicians and other health care professionals. Several hospitals around the country have submitted grants through their hospital foundations to subsidize giving the shirt away to breast cancer patients.

“We are so excited to be able to offer this to our breast cancer patients,” said Jackie Brown, breast care coordinator at Beaufort Memorial Hospital in South Carolina.

Crites emphasizes that “fitting” patients with the Shower Shirt is a great way to educate patients on proper techniques for post-mastectomy surgical care and thus reduce chances of infection.

However, the inventor knows that for the product to ultimately thrive, she needs to gain Medicare’s approval to cover the $85 purchase by individual patients. Crites has been frustrated by the less-than-warm reception she has received from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in the two applications she has submitted.

‘Never Had Their Breasts Amputated’

“I would venture to say that those individuals on the government coding committee that deemed the product a “convenience” item have never had their breasts amputated nor had to use a trash bag in trying to protect their mastectomy drain sites from water while showering post-mastectomy,” said Crites.

“We have phenomenal letters of support from various politicians requesting the product be considered a “medical necessity” for breast cancer patients, thus funding for Medicare reimbursement, but I guess the government would prefer these patients to continue using trash bags and risk infection. They’d rather pay for hospital readmissions and additional surgeries and medications.”

“We have phenomenal letters of support from various politicians requesting the product be considered a “medical necessity” for breast cancer patients, thus funding for Medicare reimbursement, but I guess the government would prefer these patients to continue using trash bags and risk infection. They’d rather pay for hospital readmissions and additional surgeries and medications.”

Huffington Post/Startup America Expo

Crites knows that the current healthcare overhaul will probably create even more obstacles for her Shower Shirt, but she is hopeful that being part of Huffington Post/Startup America’s non-partisan entrepreneur expo at the Republican National Convention Aug. 29 may help her product’s future.

“Our attendance at this convention will give me a greater reach in terms of political figures in Washington, as well as a perfect way to meet one-on-one with fellow entrepreneurs who have gone through the same trials and tribulations of entrepreneurship that I have,” said Crites.

Crites is proof that necessity is the mother of invention, for the Shower Shirt is the child she has nurtured to maturity. The product, which she has successfully brought to market, is the first water-resistant garment that protects breast cancer and mastectomy patients from water while showering before surgical drains are removed.

Lisa Crites is proof that necessity is the mother of invention, for the Shower Shirt is the child she has nurtured to maturity. The product, which she has successfully brought to market, is the first water-resistant garment that protects breast cancer and mastectomy patients from water while showering before surgical drains are removed. (Image for SpaceCoastDaily.com)

“This will be an amazing opportunity to not only network with journalists from across the country, but also a good platform to meet with high-level government leaders. The timing is absolutely perfect in terms of our recent presentation to CMS in Washington in our ongoing effort to reverse the shower shirt medical coding designation from a “convenience” item, to a medical necessity.”

The product can be purchased online at the company website and at walmart.com, medical device division, as well as by phone through the American Cancer Society. Local Brevard County, Florida outlets include Health First and Wuesthoff medical equipment stores.

For more information on the Shower Shirt log on to TheShowerShirt.com


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