During the COVID-19 pandemic, the success in treating patients and remaining safe and healthy has been a top concern for all of us, especially our healthcare professionals. They directly interact with the virus to treat patients and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
While not all patients experience the same severity of symptoms, patients with the most sever symptoms often have required assistance in breathing. This typically is achieved by a medical procedure known as intubating, or medically opening the patient’s airway. This is followed by putting the patients on ventilators to keep them breathing and ultimately alive. With this virus being respiratory, the intubation procedure puts the healthcare professions directly in the path for exposure to the virus due to the aerosols produced by the patient’s respiration efforts.
Even using current PPE, consisting of gloves, gowns, face shields, and masks, there is still COVID-19 exposure and contamination occurring to the PPE surfaces and beyond. This is causing additional challenges for healthcare professionals to overcome during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is already fast moving and impacting us all at on large scale.
At Eagle we were honored that our innovative customer, Match Grade Medical, came to us with a solution to this challenge. Match Grade Medical designed a product, called the Intubation Aerosol Box, that when used with other means of PPE, further minimizes the amount of aerosol contamination from the COVID-19 patients being intubated. The product is a clear plastic shield that fits directly over the patient. The shield has only the necessary opening cut into it, in order for the healthcare professions to successfully complete the procedure.
When assisting any of our customers with product design and material selection, our team at Eagle wants to understand the application of the product, the environment the product will endure, and how the product will be handled. Within the fast moving environment the healthcare professions are working, we knew this product needed to be durable both in its physical strength and its ability to withstand cleaning chemicals. In addition, we knew the product is being used for large scale purposes, as the virus continues to infect people. This means that, after proper cleaning, the product needs to be reusable with multiple patients and also easy to store in the environment the healthcare professions are working, which already have limited space.
Eagle was able to help with the product design by recommending in how we can bend the material, solvent bond the material, and also able to enhance the products strength further by recommending the use of clear L brackets in the corners. Similar products being produced are encountering issues where they are breaking apart in the corners. This breakage is due to inferior material selection for the application and also the design. The material many other products are using is Acrylic (PMMA), which is clear and can serve the same purpose as a barrier, but does not have the same amount of flex as PETG.
With this understanding, Eagle was able to confidently recommend the durable material known as PETG (The Tradename is Vivak).
To name a few reasons why PETG was the right choice for this product:
- High durability
- Excellent chemical resistance
- Easy to form
- Easy to solvent bond
A study was conducted testing the effectiveness of the Match Grade Medical box design, and the box proved to be an effective barrier. When tested the box contained all of the aerosols within itself and contaminated only the healthcare professionals PPE which were inside of the box, treating the patient.
Check out this video to see the test in action: