Flowers Are For First Dates and Formals…

Not Surgical Patients

It’s a well-meaning gesture and the first thing that comes to mind: sending something on a stem to brighten a bedside table. But the blooms will wilt, and the challenges of recovery can last for weeks. There’s a better way to help someone get well soon.


The Patient Journey

When a friend or family member receives a difficult diagnosis, in many cases that means surgery. And in nearly one million cases annually in the U.S., the patient will receive a Jackson Pratt (JP) post-surgical drain.

The JP is a two-part device, with a plastic suction bulb about the size of a large lemon joined with a drain tube that extends from the surgical site. The two parts together use suction to remove unnecessary fluids from the area, with the fluids collecting in the bulb. It’s not uncommon for two or more drains to be installed during surgical procedures.

If you’ve never heard about or seen patients with JP drains, that’s not surprising. Because the job of the bulbs is to accumulate gross material, like blood clots and mucus-type fluid, patients don’t talk about it. The bulbs are so awful looking, most people choose to stay home and keep the drains out of sight for the two to three weeks they must wear them.

 It’s not just about how they look. The drains are uncomfortable at best, and painful at worst, as they hang from the body without much support.

Here’s the Kicker…

In 2017, nearly 50 years after the invention of JP drains, nurses still distribute safety pins for patients to pin the bulbs to their clothing. It’s a clumsy and impractical solution to managing the drains, but nurses supply them because hasn’t been a better alternative.

KILI Medical Drain Carrier

And now there is. The KILI Carrier is a gender-neutral, one-size-fits-all mesh apron that safely holds even heavy JP drains during the recovery period. Drain bulbs are zippered into the apron pocket and can be discreetly and securely worn under shirts and tops. Not only is this more comfortable for the patient, it helps prevent tearing at the wound site, giving it the chance to heal faster.

Instead of fading flowers, send your loved one some relief. The KILI Carrier is a simple, inexpensive, lasting solution to a real problem, and a whole lot smarter than a safety pin. Only $14.99 each, shipping included.

Balancing Act

Suppose Houdini had Jackson Pratt drains… did he levitate them when changing clothes?


Dr. Jackson & Dr. Pratt 

The clever duo of Drs. Fredrick E. Jackson and Richard A. Pratt invented the Jackson-Pratt (JP) drain – a simple, yet critical tool for post-surgical patients. Basically, it’s a two-part plastic suction bulb with tube that draws unnecessary fluids from a surgical area. The invention came on the scene in the early 70’s, when the two surgeons worked together at the Naval Hospital in Camp Pendleton CA. 

Disrobing with safety pins

Drain tubes extend from the wound area as a sort of freeway for fluids to flow from body to a bulb container. At the other end are the bulbs, containing fluid. Typically nurses recommend patients suspend bulbs by clipping them to clothing with a safety pin. In a Rubik’s Cube kind-of-way – during clothing changes – a patient unclips, clips and re-clips the bulbs – in a very labor intensive manner.

Since the device’s introduction almost 50 years ago, a mystery remains – is there a simple way to manage JP drains?

Mystery solved – a pocket with ties

Maybe as early as time began, aprons have served a valuable purpose. From harvesting crops to blacksmithing, to even cooking in the kitchen. The KILI Medical Drain Carrier is a mesh apron designed to hold JP drains for the patient. Essentially, a pocket with ties. And because it’s made of mesh, it conveniently travels with the patient into the shower when bathing.

Drain Management innovation for post surgical patients.

A drain in the hand is worth two in the pocket

So. Much. Easier. Drain bulbs no longer need to dangle off the patients body like a piñata at a birthday party. Or even be deftly juggled during wardrobe changes. Instead, the KILI Carrier holds up to four bulbs within the pocket. Tucked safely inside -with a zipper closure – there’s no risk of tubes being torn from sutures, or bulbs pulling away from clothing. 

Know someone who has surgery scheduled?

Skip flowers, send a KILI Carrier. Less expensive and far more useful. Place your gift order here:

Showering with Jackson-Pratt Medical Drains


How can I shower with these crazy things attached to me…


You need medical drains & you need to bathe 

Drainage from the wound area needs to be siphoned away to prevent fluid, hematoma, and/or abscesses from forming. Mostly, the expelled fluid is a combination of mucus and small blood clots. Your surgical team will ask you to monitor the amount of fluid expelled in order to determine when it’s safe to remove drains and bulbs. But meanwhile, you will probably both want and need to take a shower…

Making it safe to shower

The discharge nurse will inform you if you’re allowed to shower with drains. In some cases, it’s suggested you take sponge baths instead. If you’re permitted to shower, always avoid placing the wound area in direct line with the shower spray. Try to limit your arm movement, keeping arms below shoulder level if possible. Gently use soap on a washcloth to remove tape residue or other applications from the surgical procedure. Finally pat your wound area with a towel – or let it air-dry.

Suspending the drain bulbs

The bulbs and drain tubes are attached with surgical sutures to your skin, so its advisable to suspend drains to avoid the pain of their tugging weight. One way is to use a lanyard, and attach bulbs to the o-ring using a safety pin. Please be careful – depending on the location of the lanyard and drains, it may irritate the wound area. A safe and painless way to secure drains is to use a drain management tool like KILI Medical Drain Carrier. It’s apron-like construction easily holds the bulbs and provides easy access when drains need to be emptied. And because it’s made of mesh material, it can be worn in the shower. More information is available here.

Be safe – ask a buddy to stand by

Remember – you may be tired from the anesthesia and the healing process. Often a patient can remain light-headed for days after the surgical procedure. It’s best to be safe and ask someone to be near the shower, just in case.  


  • Wear shower slippers with grips on the bottom.
  • Always be careful going into and leaving the bathing area
  • Do not soak in a bath or use a hot tub until your incisions are completely healed.




What is Attached to Me?


A very common question when you wake up with Jackson Pratt® drains…

The importance of Jackson Pratt drains

Following surgery, you may have drainage from the wound that needs to be removed to prevent fluid, hematoma, and/or abscesses from forming. Mostly, the expelled fluid is a combination of mucus and small blood clots. It is critical to keep the surgical area free of fluid and a Jackson Pratt drain is designed to simply suction fluids away.

How the Jackson Pratt drain does its job

A small drainage line is installed during the final portion of surgery. One end is secured to your skin using sutures, and the other is firmly attached to a lemon-sized pliable bulb. The bulb creates suction when the air is squeezed out of the bulb and a small air cap is tightened. Really, a very simple concept – and very effective at keeping wound areas dry and healthy.

What to do with fluid inside the Jackson Pratt bulb

Following surgery you, or your caregiver, will need to empty the bulb on a schedule recommended by your discharge team. Uncap the bulb and pour the contents into a measuring receptacle. Calculate how many ccs or mls of fluid were drained and record the amount on a data log. Dispose of the fluid in the toilet. Once the bulb is empty, squeeze the bulb while replacing the cap. This should create suction and the bulb should look indented.

Pay attention to fluid color and measurements

Drainage is bloody following surgery, but as time passes it should become straw-colored, then clear. Discharge should never look cloudy or like pus. If it does, contact your physician. The amount of fluid will decrease as time passes. Your surgeon will monitor the fluid output, and once it’s reached a certain level – drains will be removed.

Securing Jackson Pratt drains and drain tubes

Discharge nurses usually provide safety pins and recommend that a patient slip the bulb’s plastic loop over the pin and attach to gown or clothing. If you choose this method, be careful to remember bulbs are attached when changing gowns or clothing. A safer and painless way to secure drains is to use management tool like KILI Medical Drain Carrier. It’s apron-like construction easily holds the bulbs and provides easy access when drains need to be emptied. And because it’s made of mesh material, it can be worn when bathing. More information is available here.

How long you should expect to wear the drains

That’s entirely up to your surgical team, based on your rate of recovery. Some procedures require drains be worn for 24 hours or less. However, more intrusive surgeries are going to take longer to heal, and could mean drains will remain with the patient for 2 to 4 weeks, if not longer.


  • The first time you empty your drains, have someone there to help you. You will likely find it difficult to move around and remove/replace the bandages, etc.
  • Don’t keep the bulb in a shirt pocket. This is too high, and the fluid won’t drain properly, slowing your healing time. The bulb should be kept below the incision site.
  • Don’t touch the spout opening or the plug with your hands or anything else. You don’t want germs getting inside the bulb.


Our thanks to wikiHow and their editors for providing some content for this article.



Really, Is an Emergency Room for Cancer Patients Necessary?

At the James Comprehensive Cancer Center, they’ve developed an oncology-specific emergency department for patients with cancer. The Center, affiliated with Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, opened their doors in 2015.

According to the attending medical professionals, they’ve have discovered many ways patients benefit from cancer-focused emergency care.

  • They keep a high level of suspicion, investigating for possible cancer progression and considering complications of the cancer and its treatment.
  • With explicit knowledge of cancer treatments, and their side effects, it helps provide correct and expedient diagnosis for patients.
  • They know that when things are off in a patient with cancer, there’s more to be done than just the basic workup.


As an example, a patient with renal-cell carcinoma came in complaining of 1-month duration of pain that went from his lower shoulder blade all the way to the middle of his chest. A CT scan revealed that the cancer had metastasized into his spine and had pushed on the spinal cord, causing the wrapping pain.

There’s a variety of ways to improve the patient experience for those diagnosed with cancer. A cancer-only emergency room, medical specialists with cancer treatment experience and convenient devices for post-surgical recovery. The KILI Medical Drain Carrier is meant to restore dignity and independence. A simple, yet novel solution – it’s currently in use at University of Chicago Medical Center, UC Davis Medical Center and St. Joseph Hospital in Denver, Colorado.

For more information, please review our website. Or, contact us by email.

What to Know About Breast Reconstruction

These tips are suggested by actual patients, who’ve been through the procedure:

1)1236756_10152022942482199_270578146_nBe your own best advocate. Research all your surgical options and discuss the pros and cons of each with your surgeon.

2)Consider timing. Breast reconstruction can be performed at the same time as a mastectomy or years later. The key is to find the time that works best for you.

3)Talk to other patients to find a qualified plastic surgeon you can trust. You’re encouraged to seek multiple opinions.

4)Ask questions. Ask your health care team if you are unsure or confused about anything related to your surgery, healing, or outcomes.

5)Seek out friends. Many women have journeyed through what you are going through. They are willing to help and support in any way they can. Join a support group in your area or online

6)Try to not set expectations and maintain an open mind. Final results won’t happen overnight and there may be multiple procedures involved in breast reconstruction.

7)Remember this is a process. And like anything else, taking it one day at a time helps to relieve some of the anxiety.

8)Have a support team and accept help when they offer.

9)Get a KILI Medical Drain Carrier to provide ease and comfort during post-op healing. The simple and inexpensive device restores independence and will likely accelerate recovery time.

“Unless One Has a Drain Hanging…”

A double mastectomy patient sent us this message:

Until one has a drain hanging from their body, they can’t understand why this tool is crucial to surgery recovery. A simple Drain Carrier is able to change a patient’s life at one of the most difficult junctures most people will encounter.”

Really, it’s a discomfort most will not understand until it happens to them. A cancer patient is in a compromised position, relying on a team of nurses to prescribe post-surgical procedures. In almost all cases, a nurse will provide a safety pin or clip as a means of managing wound-care drains, usually heavy with fluid.

Pins or clips are not effective and can actually increase the likelihood tearing the drain tube away from sutures.

A simple low-tech solution is now used in a number of US hospitals. The KILI Medical Drain Carrier was created by a nine-time surgical patient, very familiar with wound-care drains. A wonderful gift to a patient, it is also a help to nursing teams who must empty and measure fluid while the patient is in their care.

Watch this video.


How Can You Make Surgery Easier?

We know first hand that surgical procedures add to the difficulty of a cancer diagnosis. It adds new complexities, in spite of being critical to the patient’s survival.

Often, surgeons implant surgical tubing with a suction bulb attached in order remove fluids that might compromise recovery. These drain bulbs are often a surprise to patients, and then their size and long tubes become annoying and painful during the duration — often one or two weeks, sometimes much more.

Surgical attending nurses will provide a safety pin or clothespin-type clip as a way to suspend drains for the recover period.

Cancer survivor Cinde Dolphin created the Kili Medical Drain Carrier.

It’s a pouch that fits around a patient’s waist after an operation, allowing them a comfortable alternative to storing tubing and medical drains, minus the hassle of pinning those tubes to a hospital gown or clothes.

Sacramento Business Journal journalist, Victor Patton, interviewed Cinde:


These simple and inexpensive mesh aprons give tremendous relief to post-surgical patients. The Kili Carrier increases mobility and as a result, reduces recovery time. A patient can change clothes, bathe and sleep much easier when drains are safely suspended in the pouch.

If you know someone scheduled for surgery, that might include dealing with medical drains, the Kili Carrier is a welcome and invaluable gift. Carriers are shipped via priority mail and arrive within approximately 48 hours of ordering. More details here.

A Complex Solution to Cancer & Other Health Issues

Bipartisan cooperation makes the system work.
Bipartisan cooperation makes the system work.

If the year 2016 is known for surprises – one of the best is a bipartisan vote to secure funding for finding help for our country’s major health issues.

On Dec. 6, the bill, known as the 21st Century Cures Act, legislators passed the measure in a classic approach to legislation, with policy victories and some disappointments for both parties, and potential benefits for nearly every American whose life has been touched by illness, drug addiction and mental health issues.

The bill gives the health institutes the authority to finance high-risk, high-reward research using special procurement procedures, as opposed to more conventional grants and contracts. It also requires the agency’s director to establish “Eureka prize” competitions to advance biomedical research and improve treatments for serious illnesses.

KILI Medical Drain Carrier is ready to join the endeavor to make patients central to future innovations. Let’s find where there’s voids and opportunities, based on patient experience. Include those who have been affected by disease, mental health diagnosis and addiction to find solutions. KILI Carrier is the direct result of a patient who wore JP Drains and refused to let others accept safety pins as management tools.

Drain Management innovation for post surgical patients.
Drain Management innovation for post surgical patients.

Where can you help? Write your local legislators and involve yourself in the future of global healthcare.

Patient-Driven Healthcare Results

A radical concept in healthcare: including patients in decisions about their individual care goals and paths to healing.

Dr. Vivian Lee, Senior VP at Health Sciences, University of Utah Health Center in Salt Lake City is on a mission to do just that. Sitting. Listening. Discussing. And arriving – together – at what the patient would like to achieve.

post-surgical drain management

Consider the father with a knee injury. Maybe he just wants to dance at his daughter’s wedding. He does not need to be able to run a marathon.  If the caregiver understands a patient’s motivation and goals, they can develop solutions together. This can increase comfort, compliance and the likelihood of a successful outcome.

I learned this first hand during my third round of breast cancer, after a mastectomy, I had options for reconstruction. My UC Davis plastic surgeon presented several procedures. We discussed my new employment position and critical deadlines that loomed in the near future. Based on my input, we arrived at what would provide my preferred outcome, completed in the amount of time that was realistic.

We also worked together to ease my recovery process. I hated post-operative wound-care drains. The ugly fluid-filled bulbs reduced any amount of dignity I still had at that point. The drains are typically secured to clothing with safety pins. But clearly this solution was not created by anyone who had actually worn a drain. The  safety pins were absolutely useless when changing clothes or showering. Really? Clip them to what, my skin?

With permission, I devised my own solution. I brought a canvas food server apron. It held the drains, gave staff easy access and restored some personal dignity. I improved the design a few weeks later when instead of canvas, I used fine light mesh material. I went on to produce and sell these carriers for others. Now the drain carriers can  stay on patients 24/7, even when bathing. This not only improves comfort and convenience but prevents pulling at the drain attachment site.

This concept – including the patient in their care decisions – has expanded.

The Utah Health Center proposes “giving patients the power to determine whether their care has been successful.”  The staff is starting by collecting data from patients about how their illnesses affect their daily lives. Data is uploaded to electronic medical records, providing transparency to all medical professional that come in contact with a patient. This complete picture of patient needs and issues leads to more tailored recommendations. Soon, the Center will begin measuring what’s called as “patient reported outcomes.”

Some medical personnel may feel that this change may place them in a vulnerable position. (Explain why.) What’s Lee’s advice to her fellow doctors? “Get thicker skin.”

This innovative approach has earned praise from the medical industry. Last month, University of Utah Health Care was named No. 1 for quality in a prestigious annual ranking of academic medical centers, beating out Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, Cedars-Sinai in California, and several other top institutions.