Monday, November 21, 2011

SIU alum makes medical breakthrough

BY CODELL RODRIGUEZ, THE SOUTHERN Posted: Monday, November 21, 2011 1:00 am

Paul Newton / The Southern SIU alum Matt Reavill of Plainfield recently won
an award for inventing a medical device that reduces the risk of infection
for patients who need a central line catheter.


    After his 60-year-old father died from an infection from a central line catheter
    after heart surgery in 1994, Matt Reavill of Plainfield knew there had to be a better way.

  • Reavill, an SIU Carbondale alum, created the ReavillMED CV. Instead of catheterizing the heart through a surgical procedure through the neck, his device operates through an IV and enters through the arm without a need for any kind of surgery. By going through the IV tube, the catheter also stays in a sterile evironment, cutting down the risk of infection.

    "It's just that stupidly simple," Reavill said.

    Reavill attended SIU from 1984 to 1988, receiving an education in engineering. At the time of his father's death, he was selling medical devices. That's when he realized there may be an easier way to monitor the heart. He later lost his job, but he saw it as a new opportunity.

    "Now I had to do it," Reavill said. "Blessings appear in very odd form."

    Reavill admits it's surprising no one has thought of doing this before, but now that his idea is out there, others are taking notice. His method, which has been approved by the FDA, recently won first place at the Health Pitch Battlefield in London. He will develop the ReavillMED CV out of the Illinois Small Business Development Center in the Dunn-Richmond Economic Development Center at SIU Carbondale.

    "That's where my loyalties lie," Reavill said.

    Reavill said he also plans to hire disabled veterans for the business because "it's only right the money goes back to the soldiers who gave everything they have."

    It's not just loyalty to the university that brings Reavill here. He also has a fondness for Carbondale. He said his father-in-law, Bob Brewer, served as a school board member for 38 years and his mother-in-law, Betsy, founded the Apple Tree gift shop.

    Emily Carter, director of Entrepreneurship and Business Development at SIU, said being able to assist Reavill is a great opportunity.

    "The Illinois Small Business Development Center at SIU is really excited about helping a creative alum like Matt," Carter said. "His desire to launch this innovate venture in our region could lead to not only new jobs, but showcase to others that Southern Illinois is a great place to be an entrepreneur."

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