Customer Testimonials

  • I use NBMS for my catheter supplies and words cannot express how satisfied I am. My orders are always filled quickly and the staff is so friendly and efficient. They are so helpful when I have questions and are generous with information. I appreciate New Britain Medical and all they do for me. They definitely have a fan for life!

    - Molly H.

    I was a little hesitant leaving my previous medical supplier consisting of 50 plus employees because I was comfortable with them. Now after over 7 years using New Britain Medical Supplies, I have been completely satisfied. I am greeted on a personal basis and all of my physical and personal needs are met promptly. Whether it is a change in medical supplies or insurance, they have helped me get my supplies the next day to my door with no questions asked. I know I can trust New Britain Medical because of Joey’s insights and personal experiences using the products he sells.

    - Darrell R. - Occupational Therapist, T-8 Paraplegic

  • How Catheters – the Lifesaver of Millions – Came to Be

    Living in the 21st century in the United States, there’s no bones about it – we get pretty spoiled, especially when it comes to medical supplies. Rarely do any of us think about where these products came from, how they came to be and by whom, but it’s hugely important to know this.

    Any product that saves your life deserves to be respected, and respecting something definitely means knowing its history. If you use catheters daily and haven’t looked at the fascinating history of them before, now is definitely the time. It’s been a rocky history, mainly because of a lack of adequate materials.

    But with plastic being invented in the last hundred or so years, everything has changed for the better. You can now catheterize yourself without fear of getting a UTI every other week. It’s really quite amazing what the invention of the few modern materials can do for the human race.

    To learn more about the history of catheters, check it out below!

    3,000 years ago…

    Amazingly, archaeologists have discovered evidence of catheter-use from over 3,000 years ago by the Syrians, who would either use straw, the tops of onions, or palm leaves, rolled into a catheter shape, to create a catheter. I can’t even imagine the infections that came from using these things…or maybe not? Perhaps the body gets used to it, just like a lot of things that introduce bacteria to the body.

    Whatever the case, this tough situation reminds me of that episode from Lost where Jack has to create a needle, and does so using a piece of a tree. While admirable, let’s just say it barely worked. With so many modern medical supplies, including catheters, you should definitely feel lucky for being alive today.

    Ben Franklin Designs a Catheter

    Although the design was not initially for him, but for his brother who suffered from kidney stones, Benjamin Franklin can be credited for helping develop the modern catheter. While plastic or rubber were not around while he was alive, he was still able to fashion a catheter using silver, as well as it being completely comprised of movable joints so that it can remain stiff during insertion.

    Ben Franklin refuses to take credit for the flexible catheter design however, saying he got the idea from famous Italian urologist Francesco Roncelli-Pardino, who designed this catheter in 1720.

    Hellooo Vulcanized Rubber

    The entire landscape of catheter design changed in 1844 when Goodyear’s patent for vulcanized rubber was approved. While this rubber was far from perfect for catheter-use, it was definitely much better than anything that had come before it. It allowed the catheter to bend, which is huge for insertion. Goodbye organic materials for catheter-use and hello safer man-made materials.

    Dr. Foley Makes History

    In St. Paul, Minnesota in 1935, urologist Dr. Foley debuted his brand new catheter design with an inflatable balloon; this allows the catheter to easily remain in the patient indefinitely without having the use any tape, which is a good thing because tape can affect the skin negatively after long-term use (as we all know). Unfortunately however, Dr. Foley was not able to patent his design, despite the common catheter still bearing his name.

    WWII and Plastics

    After World War II, an influx of injured veterans with spinal cord injuries occurred and doctors had to scramble to find better ways to help these men catheterize without living with chronic bladder issues. David S. Sheridan is the urologist who developed the modern disposable catheter made completely of silicone, and he’s credited for saving thousands of lives because of his invention.

    Catheters, the ultimate device for helping things get to where they need to, are without question one of the best medical miracles of the last century. Initially created for the bladder, they’re now used for all types of procedures and organs, including heart surgery, constantly lives with each use.

    What organic material do you think would work for creating a catheter in an emergency situation?

    Photo courtesy of Flickr CC



    Peeing Through Your Belly Button with the Magical Mitroffanoff

    bellybuttonWhen you find out you can’t voluntarily use your bladder anymore, let me tell you it’s no walk through Central Park.

    When it’s due to paralysis, your options are even more limited since both your sensation and ability to move the muscles are affected. Now that’s an uphill battle, and when you’re in this oh-so coveted position, you only have about 4 options, and none are perfect.

    There is however one option in my mind that’s better than any in-dwelling catheter, and that’s the Mitroffanoff procedure; the 4 to 6 hour surgery where they put a stoma (hole + conduit) in your belly button, which after a month of healing you can catheterize yourself through. If you’re lucky, it should heal in a non-descript way, hiding out in your belly button and no one knowing the wiser.

    This procedure was named after the doctor that invented it, Dr. Paul Mitroffanoff, a surgeon frm from Germany. He began doing this procedure in the 1980’s, and fyi – there’s disagreement among surgeons over where the stoma should be placed. Some prefer to put the stoma to the left or right of the belly button and not directly inside it. Most however have no problem putting it directly in the belly button as to better camouflage it (hopefully you’ll find a doctor willing to do this).

    I have to admit it was difficult though to finally get on board for this surgery. At first it seemed like such a massive change to my body that I couldn’t bear it. I had just broken my neck; voluntarily messing up my bladder permanently wasn’t something I was interested in. It was so scary to think of, and the video they showed me of this procedure in rehab really did not help.

    But after years of using another bladder option – an indwelling catheter – and having my body reject it after 12 years (my bladder began voiding around the inflated balloon) I had no option but to seriously consider the Mitroffanoff procedure.

    Luckily, there was a surgeon in my area, so after meeting with him it was only a matter of scheduling the surgery. The surgery was a toughie thoough; I’ll warn you.

    To enlarge my bladder, which was an additional part of my surgery (this isn’t always required; some bladders do not shrink like mine did), they used part of my lower intestines to make my bladder bigger, and this is quite ingenious. This made it possible for me to once again retain fluid in my bladder for longer periods without voiding or having to rush to use the catheter. I’ve been amazed at how effective this surgery can be.

    It’s been almost 10 years since having my Mitroffanoff procedure done and it has improved my life more than anything prior. Not only are my fashion options better (no more “external plumbing” to hide), I feel more way confident in my body, and that is priceless.

    But one of the most important reasons to get this surgery – the health benefits. No longer do you need to rely on a catheter that’s in you 24/7. These have been linked to bladder cancer. You’ll also get less UTIs.

    If you decide to get this procedure, make sure you order enough catheters each month. I use about 4 to 6 straight silicon (size 14 french) catheters everyday, but I often times run out by the end of the month and will have to reuse catheters, which usually always produces a UTI. I’ve been OCD about ordering on time for years, and it’s one of the smartest things I do on a regular basis.

    Happy cathing, and hopefully this post has enlightened you to even more exciting bladder management options.

    – Learn more: the Mitroffanoff on Wikipedia

    Do you have the Mitroffanoff procedure? How is it working for ya?



    Non-Antibiotic UTI Remedies That Work

    Throughout my course of being paralyzed, going on 21 years now, bladder infections have always been the bane of my existence.  And believe me when I say this is not an understatement.

    They warned me this would happen. All the doctors and nurses I saw after my injury; every one of them was hyper-paranoid about my bladder health. It kind of bugged me too, and then I got my first bladder infection.

    It arrived soon, just days after my accident (gotta love Foley catheters). And since that day I’ve pretty much always had some kind of low grade bladder infection. It’s not enough to give me a fever thank God, but it’s still there, lingering… refusing to go way. I’ve taken all the antibiotics available for bladder infections to help too, but unfortunately I’m now resistant to many, and my doctors want to be careful and avoid making me resistance to all.

    The solution is to find a remedy (or several) that don’t rely on antibiotics. These remedies aren’t as good of course, but they can help with certain people. In a day of age where so many people are becoming resistant to antibiotics, finding non-antibiotic remedies is the super smart thing to do (Lord knows I don’t want my cause of death to be kidney failure caused by an untreatable bladder infection).

    I do believe something good has happened to my bladder along the way – my body has come to some kind of harmonious balance with whatever stubborn bacteria that refuses to leave my bladder.  I now rarely express bladder infection symptoms – cloudy or bad-smelling urine, increased spasms, fever, frequent urination.  None of that happens unless the bacteria levels get out of control again.

    The question I know some of you may be asking is how did I do it. And the answer – it was a combination of things. Over the years, I’ve had some pretty rocky bladder situations and they were attended solely by my medical doctor. They all gave me antibiotics. I even had A regular bladder doc who would give me a prescription for an antibiotic over the phone. This was not good.

    I soon reached out to the spinal cord injury community for their tips, and find some awesome non-antibiotic bladder health tips did I ever.  Here are some of the remedies I’ve tried over the years that I believe have contributed to my positive bladder-health direction, and ever better, its ability to become friends with certain bacteria.

    D-Mannose

    It has a weird name I know, but it is just a sugar; a special kind of sugar however that some believe helps get rid of bacteria in the bladder.  The theory is that bacteria will stick to the special D-Mannose sugars as it passes through the bladder, and out goes the bacteria.  Simple as that.

    I was really jazzed when I first started it. You take one capsule a day, and within 24 hours I noticed a difference. My bladder (even though I can’t feel it that great) stopped burning.  I was amazed it actually worked. After a couple of weeks of taking D-Mannose however I noticed it didn’t work as well, so I’m not quite sure if it’s the medicine or the bacteria in my bladder is just that strong.

    Check it out: D-Mannose (it’s also available in powder-form)

    Reverse Osmosis water

    There’s another theory that the water you drink can contribute to bladder infections as well as stones, another issue of mine. Being that I live in the city and had been drinking tap water for years, I wanted to test this theory.  So I began drinking reverse osmosis water, the best filtered water you can purchase; it’s demineralized. Within a day, just like the D-Mannose, I noticed an improved difference, but it continued. And it only costs $1.50/jug where I live. I’ve been a faithful drinker of this stuff since.

    Learn more: Reverse osmosis water

    Organic Cranberry Juice

    We all know that cranberries can help fight off bladder infections, but I’ve found that it will only work if you get the right kind of cranberry juice. The cranberry juice cocktail full of sugar and no actual cranberry juice will not help too much.  Instead, look for the organic cranberry juice that contains no sugar.

    I’ll warn you now, it doesn’t taste the greatest, but it can help alleviate bladder infections symptoms. A bottle of this stuff will also cost you a couple dollars more, but it’s worth every penny.

    Check it out: Lakewood Organic Pure Cranberry Juice

    At the end of the day, I think the smartest thing anyone can do is to just know their bodies when trying to work on their bladder-health. What works for me may not work for you, but if you’re finding yourself in a corner with your bladder right and you’re not sure which direction to go in, try some of the suggestions above. You never know what may work for you.

    What remedies to you believe have helped your bladder?

    Photo courtesy of Flickr CC

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