Mercy Doctor Receives "The Missourian Award"

August 9, 2013

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Dr. Bharat Shah with patient Lana Vincent

He may not have been born in Missouri, but Mercy plastic surgeon Dr. Bharat Shah has been chosen as one of this year’s recipients of The Missourian Award. He was chosen for his contributions to the medical community and medical research.

Working with Mercy Research & Development (R&D), Dr. Shah has invented four devices. The Secure Flip Pediatric Dual Positioner is used during surgeries on infants with spina bifida. It allows doctors to safely flip the patient from their front onto their back while protecting the spine before and after surgery. Another, the Secure360 Prone Positioning Device, is used for head surgeries on infants. It provides access to all areas of the skull while keeping the child safe and their body stable. Both of those inventions have been licensed to medical device manufacturers.

Dr. Shah has two other inventions that are available for licensing. The GraftOn Skin and Tissue Applicator was developed to simplify skin grafting. Right now, surgeons struggle with excess fluid buildup that can keep the graft from properly adhering to the wound. This tool helps surgeons work more efficiently. Finally, Dr. Shah created the PolyTrak Intermaxillary Fixation System to replace the traditional method of wiring a jaw shut. When patients have a jaw fracture, surgeons must align their jaw and have always done that with sharp wires. This system is made from a softer plastic arch bar and brackets that keep the teeth aligned while reducing patient discomfort. The product also makes application easier and quicker for doctors. For more information on any of these inventions, please visit

“Dr. Shah has a wonderful combination of talents,” said Keela Davis, director of Mercy R&D. “He’s not only a great physician, but he also understands the need for inventions that can help patients and doctors. He’s exceptional at solving the puzzle of creating a new product and can effectively communicate that solution during design, development and commercialization.”

The Missourian Award acknowledges the most accomplished citizens of Missouri. Recipients are selected by a committee. While most winners are native to the state, under exceptional circumstances a person may qualify after living in Missouri for at least 15 years. Nominees have made an outstanding contribution to the state or nation. Past award recipients include Walt Disney, Walter Cronkite and John Q. Hammons. “It’s an honor to be recognized with such an outstanding group,” said Dr. Shah. “I hope to continue to promote innovation in health care in the laboratory, the clinical setting and the board room.” In fact, Dr. Shah is currently working on several new inventions.

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Sonya Kullmann
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