An improvised protective device for use when intubating patients designed by Taiwanese doctor Lai Hsien-yung (賴賢勇) is being adopted in the Philippines to help doctors there stay safe amid the worsening COVID-19 pandemic.
“We made this acrylic aerosol box for my sister Dra. Frances Legaspi for Antipolo Doctors Hospital. Credits to Dr Lai Hsien-yung for the concept and design,” Anton Legaspi, whose family owns a business that makes customized designs, said on Facebook on Monday.
The hospital is in Antipolo, about 25km east of Manila.
Photo: Wang Chun-chi, Taipei Times
Legaspi’s post was accompanied by several photographs of the box and a short demonstration video that was shot in the hospital. As of yesterday morning, his post was shared more than 60 times.
The “aerosol box” designed by Lai, an anesthesiologist at Mennonite Christian Hospital in Hualien, is a transparent cube made of acrylic that covers a patient’s head during endotracheal intubation, a necessary procedure for patients with the coronavirus who experience respiratory failure.
It has two holes on one side through which physicians can insert their hands to perform the procedure while shielded from the patient’s respiratory droplets.
Lai on Saturday shared his design on Facebook and gave permission for its noncommercial use. His invention was reported by the Central News Agency (CNA) and several other local media outlets.
Legaspi yesterday told CNA in an interview that he and his sister, an emergency room doctor, learned of the device on Sunday night through posts shared on social media and created the prototype the next morning, overcoming challenges caused by a lockdown of Metro Manila.
“We were lucky enough to get a supplier who had available stocks of raw materials. The workers at the shop live at the factory, so we were able to make it,” Legaspi said.
He said that his sister asked him if he could make such a box, because it was needed at the hospital as supplies of personal protective equipment in the Philippines are running low.
As of Monday afternoon, there were 462 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Philippines, with 33 deaths and 18 patients who have recovered.
Legaspi’s version features larger holes to accommodate bigger arms.
Other suggestions he received from people in the medical field include making a small flap on the open side for additional maneuverability and protection, Legaspi said.
Donors and acrylic suppliers have pledged support for the production of the device, which would be donated to public and private hospitals nationwide, he said.
He estimated the cost of each aerosol box at 1,500 pesos (US$29.40), less than Lai’s estimate of about NT$2,000.
“It would be nice to have it mass-produced to cater to many more patients. It may still be used even after the COVID-19 pandemic,” Legaspi said.
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