Mercy and its co-workers are innovating new ways to protect patients and each other during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A respiratory therapist in Springfield, Missouri, raised the idea of using acrylic aerosol boxes for critically ill COVID-19 patients who need a tube placed down their throat so they can receive needed oxygen, known as intubation. The boxes were originally designed by a doctor in Taiwan as an added layer of protection for doctors and nurses during high-risk procedures. Because patients often cough when they are intubated, the acrylic box provides critical protection to caregivers.
Within hours, the co-worker’s idea became a prototype and a southwest Missouri company began fabricating the boxes for Mercy. Tested and ready for production, the first 40 were distributed April 3 to larger Mercy hospitals. Another 100 acrylic boxes were delivered to hospitals across Mercy communities with continued production, as needed, with smaller boxes for pediatric patients.
“We must protect our medical staff so they can continue to care for people in our communities during this pandemic,” said Dr. David Tannehill, Mercy Clinic critical care physician leading the intensive care teams across Mercy. “These boxes will protect our caregivers, and they will preserve and extend the life of our invaluable personal protective equipment (PPE).”
He went on to say, “The collaboration and the efforts across Mercy have been simply the most incredible act of humanity I could have ever imagined. Each day, every single person at Mercy is preparing for something we’ve never seen in our lifetime. The reason for the unbelievable work and long, unending hours is so we can safely take care of our patients and our co-workers. It’s what the Sisters of Mercy have been doing for almost 200 years. We continue their legacy.”