Doctors Are Innovative In The Fight Against COVID-19

Doctors are channeling their inventive side to battle the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Ben Pettigrove, a Tulsa Physician, heard about Doctors and Nurses dying after becoming infected during the process of intubation so he designed a plexiglass box that would contain the virus.

After you intubate somebody you would leave it on for 5 or 6 minutes to clear that chamber totally. You can clean it easily with Clorox or peroxide, you just wipe it down.

It’s made of out things you’ll find at Home Depot like plexiglass for the walls and a kitchen trash bag at the entrance to seal around your arms as you perform the job.

Pettigrove is doing this project for the sake of doing good, not for profit. He said, “I mean I’ve got a lot of friends that are Doctors that do this , I’ve got a son-in-law that does this in Alaska in the military and he’s covering two ICUs and goes home to see my daughter every night.”

Anesthesiologist James Nilson, works with a group at Tufts Medical Center called the “Apollo 13 Team” because they are responsible for inventing ways to fill gaps in medical supplies and personal protective equipment.

The group invented a splash guard by using camping experience. According to WGBH, the idea came from the bivy sack, a lightweight alternative to a tent that serious backpackers shelter under when sleeping out in the elements. Nilson and Dr. Pavan Sekhar, took some PVC tubing and a large plastic bag typically used to cover ventilators and jury-rigged it into what they now call a “splash bivy.”

“It creates kind of a big open hood over the patient. And then at the end of the bag that now sits over the patient’s chest, that can just kind of be tucked under the patient’s blanket. And that’s it. It’s as simple as that. It’s just one step better than throwing a plastic bag over a person’s head,” Nilson said.

Hospital patients with airborne infectious diseases, such as COVID-19, must be isolated in negative-pressure rooms to keep the disease from escaping and infecting others. Unfortunately, hospitals have very few of these rooms and they can be costly to build.

Dr. Mark Comunale from Arrowhead Regional Medical Center created a vinyl enclosure that creates a negative-pressure space around hospital beds, allowing workers to safely care for or move infectious patients through the hospital. It is called the Patient Isolation Transport Unit.

The idea for the enclosure came to him after seeing the amount of work it took to set up a negative-pressure room while the hospital prepared for the Ebola outbreak a few years ago.

The enclosures have glove ports letting hospital staff take patients’ temperatures. They also reduce the amount of personal protective equipment hospital workers need when entering negative-pressure rooms.

The invention also would allow patients to safely have loved ones by their side as they die. “The patient is enclosed, then the family can get up close and technically put their hands in the glove port and touch their loved one,” Communale said.

Right now a prototype is being used to train hospital staff, while it awaits approval from the Food and Drug Administration.

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