CLEVELAND – The COVID-19 pandemic presents many new medical challenges.
And deep inside Cleveland Clinic, inventors and engineers are answering the call.
“To some degree we behaved as we were on a battle field with an enemy right in front of us,” said research engineer, Sergey Samorezov.
Anticipating a potential ventilator shortage, respiratory physicians tasked Samorezov’s lab with producing a worst-case-scenario emergency ventilator – nine days later, the team had a working prototype.
“It’s simple to build and inexpensive, but at the same time, it provides basic, comfortable care,” said Samorezov.
Medical innovation is on fast-forward. Devices that typically take months to produce are being developed in days.
“This one is kind of riding a rocket because this is a pandemic and in a pandemic, time is everything and we know that to help the healthcare workers to deal with crisis, we have to speed it up,” said Shengqiang Gao, a research engineer.
In six days, another team repurposed a nursing invention to safely secure IV lines outside ICU isolation rooms – reducing virus exposure and conserving personal protective equipment.
“They think that really makes a significant impact to the ICU workflow,” Gao said.
Meanwhile, another workshop produced isolation cubes to shield ICU workers from virus droplets while placing breathing tubes.
“We wanted the box to not only protect the doctor who’s performing the procedure, but also everyone who is there,” said Bassel Akbik, MD.
Engineers also constructed a version of the cube using a plastic sheet.
Both devices have been used to protect healthcare workers when treating ICU patients with COVID-19.
Doctors say many of the new inventions have applications beyond caring for COVID-19 patients and they plan to use them in other medical situations in the future.