Daily Nurse | When Necessity Results in Invention: Jean Snyder and the ERMA

The ERMAWhen Jean Snyder, DNAP, CRNA, read a story about a vibrant boy who went in for routine surgery and instead of coming home, died during his stay, she knew she had to do something. The cause of the child’s death was a medication error. “As a mother and as a nurse anesthetist, my heart grieved for this loss. I knew that if we had a safe means to keep our syringes and vials, the mistake may have been recognized earlier, and perhaps that child may have had a different outcome,” says Snyder, owner of Jean F. Snyder CRNA Inc. and co-owner of Goodwin and Snyder Anesthesia Associates, PLLC, who also works full-time for Bon Secours DePaul Medical Center. “I knew I had to invent ERMA [Error Recovery and Mitigation Aide].”

“I developed an ERMA prototype in 2008 but had no means to refine and market it. In 2016, as part of my doctoral program at Virginia Commonwealth University, I wrote a whitepaper discussing medication errors within the context of error critical systems. ERMA was a means to provide early recognition and, hopefully, mitigation of medication errors. I then submitted my whitepaper and prototype to Innovation Institute, a medical device incubator that is affiliated with my hospital system. Innovation Institute worked with me to refine ERMA and obtained a provisional patent. We are presently working to market ERMA,” states Snyder.

Snyder explains what ERMA is and what it does:

“ERMA is a clear reservoir inserted between the re-entry proof top and opaque terminal disposal portion of a traditional needle box. It allows a practitioner in any high-risk area (OR, ED, ICU) to have visualization of all the syringes and vials used during the course of a procedure, anesthetic or surgery. At the end of a single procedure, a trap door in the bottom of the reservoir is released to allow those sequestered vials and syringes to drop into the bottom of the needle box for terminal disposal. Providers now have a means to refer back to any medication delivered for an individual patient. ERMA allows us to recognize errors in a timely fashion and address the untoward events that may arise from the error in a timely fashion. More…