Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Making Plenty out of Nothing

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Making Plenty out of Nothing

Article excerpt

Louis Siegal, M.D.

LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Engineer. Doctor. Inventor. Novelist. Binstick salesman.

Whatever the title, Louis Siegal, M.D., said he likes to take nothing and make something.

Working as a biomedical engineer after graduating in 1966 from Johns Hopkins University, Siegel felt compelled to return to school, at age 32, this time to become a physician. He graduated in 1976 from the University of Rochester as a medical doctor with distinction in research.

The engineer turned doctor kept inventing.

He has a patent because, well, he wanted one. Patent No. 4,887,594, issued Dec. 19, 1989, is for a device to treat lateral epicondylitis, better known as tennis elbow. Other inventions include the Cardi-Probe, which is used during open-heart surgery on children to prevent heart block, and Stat-Pace, which is a trans- esophageal pacer to treat arrhythmias.

One day, when snow covered his Pittsford, N.Y., driveway, Siegel slipped as he carried a recycling bin to the curb.

From that accident, The Original Binstick was born in 1999.

The device is a 29-inch long handle with a molded hook at one end that perfectly fits under the handle of a standard recycling bin. After affixing the Binstick to the bin, it's easier for people who aren't that strong, or who have bad backs, to pull the bin to the curb instead of trying to lift and carry them.

Siegel sold about 5,000 Binsticks in the Rochester area at drugstores and to townships.

"I loved them so much, I would deliver them individually," said Siegel, 75.

He retired in 2005 and left New York for Lakewood Ranch. Here, he found that he could not really retire.

Siegel began seeing patients once a week at the Senior Friendship Center clinic in Sarasota, took a six-week course at the Humor Institute at McCurdy's Comedy Theatre in 2009 that culminated with a stand-up routine, played golf, volunteered at Tidewell Hospice, helped form the Jewish Club at Lakewood Ranch, served on the board of the Manatee-Sarasota Jewish Housing Council, gave lectures as the founder of the Gulf Coast Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation support group and was an exhibit contributor for GWIZ -- The Science Museum in Sarasota. …

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