Local engineer's gift to help increase protection against COVID-19 for medical workers

Posted at 6:44 PM, Apr 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-20 22:36:06-04

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. -- As medical workers continue to save the lives of COVID-19 patients, Riverside hospitals on the Peninsula received some help from one engineer who created several devices to help protect those on the front lines.

The device comes in the form of a transparent cube with a few openings.

“It’s not so much to make her job easier; it’s to make her job safer,” Dr. Gary Kavit, the medical director. "We want to take care of patients but we also want to make sure that our staff is safe."

It's called an intubation box. Doctors and nurses will use it when connecting a patient to a ventilator.

According to a press release, a local engineer named Dave Kashy produced the boxes because he wanted to help out medical workers. He also has a daughter and son-in-law who work in the medical field.

He took the time to build these boxes using polycarbonate plastics and designs he found online.

“The dimensions were a little bit small, so we modified the dimensions a little bit and made the box a little wider,” Kavit said. “We made the holes a little bit bigger so it would be easier to work with.”

Riverside hospitals received 10 of these intubation boxes, which were distributed throughout the whole system.

The patient lays flat, and the medic will place the patient’s head under the box through a wide open slot. The medic, while wearing protective equipment, puts their arms through the holes on the opposite side of the box to connect the ventilator to the patient.

“We have to pass a tube down their windpipe, also known as a trachea,” Kavit explained, “and during the course of that maneuver, you risk spraying droplets into the air."

Those droplets could help the coronavirus spread, potentially making them sick.

"And there have been estimates as high as you could lose 30 to 40% of your healthcare providers to getting ill,” Kavit said. “Obviously we can’t take care of people if we’re missing a lot of staff."

As the battle against COVID-19 continues, this engineer's gift will help keep doctors and nurses healthy and on the job.

"I’ve already told him and thanked him tremendously,” Kavit said. “It’s a big relief for me to be able to provide my staff the safest possible environment to work in."

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