By John Pierce

Each April many parents participate in “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day” — often called “Take Your Kids to Work Day.” A story published in the Chattanooga Times Free Press on Saturday may warrant an expansion of that once-a-year idea.

Christian Devlin, a 16-year-old junior at the McCallie School, recently received an official patent for his “Neuronal Protection System,” a device designed to help surgeons ease the damage of blood clots in stroke victims.

The idea arose from a suggestion the then-middle school student made in 2008, after watching his father, Dr. Tom Devlin, perform a surgical procedure to remove a blot clot from a stroke patient at Chattanooga’s Erlanger hospital. Observing such procedures was something the bright, curious student did often.

Dr. Devlin and another Erlanger physician, Dr. Blaise Baxter, who share the patent with Christian, helped develop the device that, as Christian told the newspaper, is “basically taking blood from somewhere else in your body and putting it where it needs it most.”

Time is of the essence for stroke patients and this device is designed to help surgeons in the race against the clock.

With funding, further development and successful testing, the new device could greatly impact the way doctors treat strokes as soon as 2015, the inventors said.

Few moms and dads can expect such remarkable results from taking a son or daughter to work. But this story has a broader lesson than a single medical discovery.

Learning is a two-way street. Parents, teachers and supervisors can often gain insight from those who bring curiosity, fresh eyes and open minds not already firmly shaped by how things ought to be done.

Here’s a link to the story.

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