Nurse-made solution to an infant's back problem.
My daughter was born with a rare neural tube defect that made her spinal cord protrude into a softball-sized lump on her lower back. She was healthy otherwise and surgery could wait a few months, but being discharged from the hospital presented a more immediate problem: How could a newborn with a large, delicate sac containing her spinal cord safely ride in a car seat when she wasn't even supposed to lie on her back?
Enter the innovative nurse who used a twisted hospital blanket and medical tape to fashion a donut that fit around the lump and cushioned her back.
"I bet that never got published," says Jose Gomez-Marquez, director of Little Devices Lab at MIT. "I bet nobody got an award for that little solution."
He's right. I don't even know that nurse's name. She rolled the blanket, taped it up, saw that it fit, and went on with her day. But her quick-thinking invention helped my daughter safely ride in her car seat for almost four months. And it didn't cost us a penny.