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Instrumental Change

Darliea Dingel-Fehr had an idea, based out of need, as most good ideas are. She was training to be a surgical technician, and found that, as a single mother, she didn’t have as much time to practice her techniques in the lab as she needed. She could have purchased tools to practice at home but the tools are incredibly expensive. So she developed a set of mock tools to help students practice their craft. Dingel-Fehr received a $75,000 royalty loan through the Demonstration Fund.

Dingel-Fehr has owned several businesses since graduating from college, including a graphic arts business and a chain of children’s clothing stores. It was when she was earning a degree in surgical assistance that she came up for the idea for Mock Medical.

“I suddenly found myself as a single mother while I was a student in the surgical program,” she said. Part of the training for surgical assistance includes spending many hours in the lab, practicing with the instruments that are used in surgery. Closing the clamps and doing other procedures required by assistants in surgery takes manual dexterity and lots of practice. “After I put the kids to bed at night, I wanted to be practicing my lab techniques, and I thought, ‘wouldn’t it be wonderful to bring the lab to me.’“  But those lab instruments are expensive. No student, let alone a single mother, can afford to buy a duplicate set of instruments just for practice. So she came up with the idea of simulated instruments.

First of all, Fehr had to figure out why the “real” instruments are so expensive. “It’s because they’re made of stainless steel,” she said, “and they are very, very sharp.” From there, she experimented with materials to come up with a substitute that looks and feels like the real thing.

“It was trial and error; I have no degree in metal making. I started in plastic with glass additives and went from there.” When she was done with development and ready to launch, she received financial assistance that helped her business get off the ground. “By the time you get to that stage, you are depleted,” she said. “My Funding helped me with Marketing and Sales”

Today, Mock Medical provides kits of “mock” surgical instruments, sets of instruments that look and feel like the real thing. Each instrument must have the same weight, balance and hand-feel that medical grade instruments have – without sharp edges.

For more information about how to connect with many sources of financial assistance for business development, click here. For more information about Mock Medical, visit the website.