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“Perseverance at all costs.” With Fotis Georgiadis & Dr. Richard P. Imbruce

All EMS survival data is timed from EMS arrival. The R15, for the first time, will not only improve survival but also provide survival data before EMS arrives, brain cells dysfunction, and die. Emergency Physicians over the world provide oxygen as the first line of defense against untoward events. A safe, simple to use, internationally […]

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All EMS survival data is timed from EMS arrival. The R15, for the first time, will not only improve survival but also provide survival data before EMS arrives, brain cells dysfunction, and die. Emergency Physicians over the world provide oxygen as the first line of defense against untoward events. A safe, simple to use, internationally understandable emergency oxygen device will make a difference.


I had the pleasure of interviewing Richard P. Imbruce, PhD, CEO.

Richard P. Imbruce has 30 years of experience in the medical device industry & co-inventor of R15. Founded Pneumedics, Inc., a developer & manufacturer of heart and lung diagnostic instrumentation and advisor to GE/Versamed Healthcare. Dr. Imbruce is an international expert on breathing mechanics, established Rapid Oxygen Company in 2013 to develop, manufacture and market the R15, portable chemical oxygen generator for emergency use.


Thank you for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

In 2006 I was developing an ICU level of care, battery powered, transport ventilator and met Dr. Kevin Ward, Director of Emergency Medicine Research Institute at Virginia Commenwealth University in Richmond, VA. Dr. Ward was recipient of a $10M DOD grant to develop a hemorrhagic shock treatment for the Army in Afghanistan. The treatment consisted of injecting small amounts of hydrogen peroxide-saline solution to produce oxygen. This added many hours of survival for transport to MASH units for better outcomes. It became obvious to use this technology to augment breathing in far-forward areas where oxygen cylinders couldn’t be deployed.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

I once treated a family of five children and two adults, blinded by carbon monoxide poisoning resulting from a poorly ventilated furnace. They were placed in two monoplace hyperbaric oxygen chambers for a series of daily treatments over the course of a few weeks. Soon their sight improved with no untoward effects. Just an example of oxygen benefits with proper use.

Which principles or philosophies have guided your life? Your career?

Horace Mann –“Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.”

Ok. Let’s now move to the main focus of our interview. Can you tell us about your “Big Idea That Might Change The World”?

Since oxygen cylinders are explosive and not permitted for public safety, oxygen is not available in public spaces. EMS statistics result in 8%-14% survival from an untoward event. There is a 10% improvement in survival for every minute improvement in response time. Recent COVID-19 response times increased in NYC from an average of six and a half minutes to more than twelve minutes. The national average EMS response time is over eight minutes and more in rural areas.

Brain function decreases without oxygen after two minutes and dies within ten.

How do you think this will change the world?

Airports locate AEDs every one thousand feet for access within one minute. I believe making emergency oxygen available at the same time, within one minute, before EMS arrive, will greatly improve survival, not only for cardiac events but also for airway emergencies, more than 20x more frequent.

Keeping “Black Mirror” and the “Law of Unintended Consequences” in mind, can you see any potential drawbacks about this idea that people should think more deeply about?

There are no “Black Mirror” events or “Law of Unintended Consequences” by providing 6 liters per minute, the flow of oxygen, warmed and humidified to body temperature, and pressure for fifteen minutes under any circumstances. The often-quoted Hippocratic Oath “above all else, do no harm” is particularly useful here. There is FDA clearance for the R15 because it meets their guidelines for emergency use without a prescription. Oxygen cylinders require a prescription and certificate training is mandated for proper use. The R15 empowers anyone, any age, anytime to be a “Good Samaritan.”

Was there a “tipping point” that led you to this idea? Can you tell us that story?

All EMS survival data is timed from EMS arrival. The R15, for the first time, will not only improve survival but also provide survival data before EMS arrives, brain cells dysfunction, and die. Emergency Physicians over the world provide oxygen as the first line of defense against untoward events. A safe, simple to use, internationally understandable emergency oxygen device will make a difference.

What do you need to lead this idea to widespread adoption?

Early adopters recognize the need and will influence acceptance. The media will communicate this message.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)

  1. Acceptance: I thought oxygen is understood by everyone. It is taken for granted.
  2. Mechanical Design: Simplicity is the ratio of elegance of design and hidden complexity.
  3. Proof of Concept: Chemistry in a box is a real challenge, a chem lab experiment.
  4. Startup Cost: A moving target for which one must take ownership.
  5. Investor Appetite: Glass eyed and impatient.

Can you share with our readers what you think are the most important “success habits” or “success mindsets”?

Perseverance at all costs.

Some very well known VCs read this column. If you had 60 seconds to make a pitch to a VC, what would you say? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

Opportunity: Improve survival of cardiac and respiratory emergencies in public places.

Due to the safety & explosion hazards of high-pressure gas cylinders, emergency oxygen is not available in public places. RO2 has patented a portable chemical oxygen generator to produce safe, easy to use, medically pure oxygen for 15–20 minutes without the need for electrical or battery power. It is a completely safe, low-pressure emergency oxygen system, that does not require an explosive charge for activation. The R15 will complement the more than 10 million automatic emergency defibrillators (AEDs), which saved many subjects with cardiac emergencies over the last twenty years. The R15, cleared by the FDA as an OTC medical device to provide emergency oxygen without a prescription, allows anyone, anywhere to become a Good Samaritan at the same time restoring the ‘P’ to CPR.

Since cardiac and airway emergencies are sides of the same coin, the R-15 can be bundled with AEDs, designated as ‘emergency use’ kiosks, located in airports, shopping malls, and other public places, often where fire extinguishers are located.

The R-15 is activated by turning a lever and attaching its integral mask to the subject. Oxygen flows almost immediately and continues to flow for 15–20 minutes, more than enough time for the arrival of EMT personnel. If not used, it is replaced every two years, similar to printer cartridge recycling.

Rapid Oxygen Company is seeking to raise $5M Series ‘B’ offering of company common stock. Proceeds will be used to scale manufacturing and support a sales effort with web-based telemarketing, direct sales, and distribution networks for the $1.5B projected emergency oxygen market opportunity.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Linkedin

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.

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