Patient death leads Illinois cardiologist to create germ-resistant garb

Lab jackets and scrubs are coated to slow the growth of bacteria.

By Victoria Stagg Elliott — Posted Sept. 19, 2011

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Making sidelines pay

Business Pitch

Doctors who branched out beyond running their practice tell why they did it, how they did it, and what you should know before you do it.
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Name: Charles A. Kinder, MD

Specialty: Cardiology

Location: Chicago

Company: DocFroc, a company that manufactures and sells antibacterial lab coats and scrubs (link).

Annual revenue: Numbers were not disclosed, but the company has sold thousands of lab coats and scrubs and has a dozen staffers.

Why he started the business: About three years ago, a patient who came in for elective surgery died a few days later from a hospital-acquired infection.

"It was just heartbreaking," Dr. Kinder said. "I thought: How can we prevent this from happening in the future to somebody else?

"Washing hands makes a difference," he said. "The next logical and sensible stop is to make sure that clothing is not contributing."

Dr. Kinder started investigating silver and other coatings that can retard bacterial reproduction on clothing but not contribute to antibiotic resistance. He decided to use Tri-active coating, which uses silver-based nanotechnology and can survive at least 100 washes. The coating has been shown to reduce bacterial growth. Prevention or reduction of transmission to others has not been demonstrated.

The garments, which are manufactured by Blue Devil Textile in Gastonia, N.C., are being marketed to health care systems and directly to physicians, nurses and other health professionals.

Why he continues to practice: "I just love being a doctor."

Words of wisdom: "If you find a business that allows you to take better care of your patients and continue your pledge to do no harm, that's a good business."

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