Seeing his wife go through the excruciatingly painful process of passing kidney stones, a farmer in Jiangxi Province, China, created an ingenious bed that flips over and vibrates to help dislodge the stones.
Zhu Qinghua, a 52-year-old rice farmer from Jiangxi had been thinking of ways of helping his wife since 1993, when she had her left kidney removed because of kidney failure, and stones were discovered in her right one. Doctors told them that surgery to remove the stones was too dangerous for a person with one kidney, so she was advised to eliminate them naturally before they became too large. Zhu says inspiration struck in 1997, when doctors advised his wife to stand upside down for a few minutes every day, to help dislodge the kidney stones. That’s when he started working on his patented kidney stone-removing bed.
He spent one month drawing up the plans for his invention, and 1,000 yuan ($145) building it out of materials he had around the house. It was designed to rotate 360 degrees and keep the user upside down to a very sharp angle, while also using vibrations created by a tractor driving wheel to dislodge kidney stones. Zhu says that just 10 minutes in the bed for five days was all it took for his wife to pass her stones painlessly.
News of Zhu’s remarkable bed spread through his village like wildfire, and soon people started asking him to sell them the bed or make new ones for them. he had to turn them all down, because he was not licensed to sell medical equipment, but offered to let kidney stone sufferers use his bed for free. According to a Chinese media report from last year, at least three villagers claimed that Zhu Qinghua’s bed helped them pass the stones easier.
The farmer managed to secure a patent for his kidney-stone removing bed in 2014 and hopes to be able to mass produce it and improve the lives of more people struggling with painful kidney stones.