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OSF HealthCare: the First in the World to Implant BrightWater Device into Human

A physician with OSF HealthCare Saint Francis Medical Center performed the first surgery utilizing the ConvertX™ Nephroureteral Stent System, a device designed to streamline treatment for urinary tract obstructions that prevent the flow of urine from the kidneys to the bladder. Urinary blockages typically occur due to tumors, scar tissue and renal stones.

Every year, more than 300,000 patients undergo two invasive procedures for treatment; the ConvertX System eliminates the need for the second procedure. Timothy Whitehead, M.D., Interventional Radiologist with Central Illinois Radiological Associates, a radiology group that offers services to OSF, performed the successful placement of the device.

“Each time a patient is exposed to the hospital, sedation and the potential for blood loss, those are all measurable risks. And being able to avoid that for the patient is, I think, the ideal.”


The tool was developed by BrightWater Medical, Inc., a California-based mid-stage medical device company founded and led by Bob Smouse, M.D., a physician out of Peoria.

“That’s fantastic, right?” said Dr. Smouse. “I mean, this is my hospital; I’ve been (practicing) here (at OSF HealthCare Saint Francis Medical Center) for 20 years, so to see the hospital adopt it as a first user is incredible.”


OSF Ventures, the corporate investment arm of OSF HealthCare, led a $5.2 million dollar investment round in the company in May 2016 due to its potential to improve patient outcomes and experiences.

“We’re extremely excited to financially support this innovative technology that originated here in Peoria,” said Stan Lynall, Vice President of Venture Investments for OSF Ventures. “We hope to continue being part of the growth of BrightWater as it develops new ideas for medical devices.”

BrightWater is in the process of seeking FDA approval for a second device that mirrors the capability of the ConvertX, but targets the biliary system. In the meantime, the company will work towards full-scale commercialization of the original device.