If you’ve ever had surgery in a Boston-area hospital, or even beyond, you might have been strapped into a “patient positioning” device that held you steady. Chances are that device was designed and manufactured in Abington at SchureMed, a small company founded in 1994 by Peter Schuerch of Quincy. He and his wife, MaryAnn, also started the Victoria Ann Schuerch Memorial Foundation to honor their 4-year-old daughter, Victoria, who died from acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 2015. We spoke to Peter Schuerch for this story.
Q. How did the company come to be?
A. I was a surgical technician at South Shore Hospital in Weymouth and noticed they’d transfer patients from one bed to another or a gurney with a disposable red trash bag. So I had an idea: I found some plastic, drew out an outline of it in crayon on my mom’s living room floor, cut it out, and brought it in. It worked, and I then figured out how to sell them. They’re still used, and we sell them by the thousands. I still worked after I started this business, but when I started making more money at it, I did it full time.
Q. What does SchureMed make?
A. We manufacture over 300 products for gynecology, urology, orthopedic, and general surgery procedures, and the 1,500 or so components needed to make them, all right here. We start out with an idea, draw it out on paper, and use the latest software to draw a 3D model, so we build the product before we machine anything.
Q. You design all of the products you make; do you have an engineering background?
A. No, I just have a unique ability to see something and have the capabilities to design, manufacture, and bring those ideas to life.
Q. Where are your products found?
A. We sell to hospitals and surgery centers all over the country and in 35 other countries, so we’re global now. Our business has grown every year since we started.
Q. How much money has Victoria’s foundation raised?
A. We’ve held the “Walk for Victoria” in Quincy in 2016 and 2017 and so far have raised $40,000 for The Leukemia Research Fund at Boston Children’s Hospital; the next one’s in August. She was diagnosed in August 2015 and died in September, and we want the money raised to help find a better way to treat this disease.
Paul E. Kandarian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.