The USDA has authorized Cook Medical to market Flourish, a minimally-invasive treatment for pediatric esophageal atresia. Newborns with the condition have a partial esophagus leading from the mouth and another from the stomach, but they do not join. In a process developed by Dr. Mario Zaritzky at the University of Chicago and Cook, Flourish uses rare-earth magnets to stretch the two tracks over several days until a continuous tunnel is formed. When the approval was announced, the device had already been used to successfully treat sixteen patients. Cook received an FDA Humanitarian Use Device designation for the system because it was demonstrated to be a safe and likely beneficial alternative procedure that would serve fewer than 4,000 people per year. Cook Medical is a family-owned business specializing in minimally-invasive medical devices. Based in Winston-Salem, it manufactures over 16,000 products for hospitals in 135 countries.