From Phone Line to Lifeline
Inspired by a wall jack after a tragic accident, ICU Medical founder George Lopez built a better, more secure IV system.
Siri Schubert, Business 2.0 Magazine

(Business 2.0) -- The Problem In 1984 physician George Lopez was working in an intensive care unit when a patient arrived with an infection that impairs the heart's ability to pump blood. Lopez began giving medication intravenously and told the patient's wife, "He's coming home soon." But later a nurse called to say that the patient's IV tube had slipped out of the needle port, pouring medicine onto the bed. "I worked for hours," Lopez says, "but he died."

The "Aha!" Lopez went to make a difficult phone call to the patient's wife and, noticing the phone jack in the wall, gave the cord a tug. "This is crazy," Lopez thought. "If this comes out, all I lose is a call, yet it's more secure than the IV." That night he sketched out a new system with a locking device to keep the tube in place. After raising $1 million from doctors and nurses, he launched ICU Medical in San Clemente, Calif., in 1986.

The Payoff ICU Medical has captured nearly 10 percent of the global IV market, which does about $2 billion in annual sales, says analyst Robert Goldman of KeyBanc Capital Markets. ICU's Clave Connector locking IV system holds a 40 percent share in its category, and the company's 2005 profit hit $20.3 million on revenue of $157.5 million. With 2006 sales expected to reach $195 million, ICU's prognosis is excellent.  Top of page

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Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.