Pillar Innovations works with GRMC to create intubation boxes for potential COVID-19 patients

Pillar Innovations works with GRMC to create intubation boxes for potential COVID-19 patients

Garrett Regional Medical Center and Pillar Innovations have collaborated to produce intubation boxes for the hospital. Intubation boxes are used to help reduce a physician’s exposure to COVID-19 as they intubate patients who require a ventilator. Without extreme precaution, this process can put healthcare workers at a high risk of infection. The new boxes produced by Pillar Innovations will serve as an added layer of protection for frontline staff.

Performing an intubation requires a clinician to stand over the patient, getting close to their face, as they guide a tube into place in the patient’s airway. During the process, patients often cough or gasp, which can spread infected fluids. The protective boxes are designed to cover the patient’s head and features two holes for the clinician’s hands to pass through in order to safely perform the procedure. The boxes can be cleaned, sanitized and reused on other patients and can be used on patients with other contagious infections who require intubation.

“Intubation is a particularly difficult procedure and a high risk for exposure. Contaminants can travel up to 2 meters during the process, with infected fluid coming directly from the patients’ lungs,” explained Kendra Thayer, Senior Vice President of Patient Care Services and the hospital’s Chief Operating Officer. “The protective intubation box creates a safe barrier between the patient and clinician, which greatly reducing the chance of transmitting infection.”

Dr. Marjorie Fridkin, GRMC Chief Medical Officer, and Ms. Thayer learned about the protective equipment from other facilities, including WVU Medicine, with which GRMC is clinically affiliated. GRMC brought the concept to Pillar Innovations, who were able to quickly produce the boxes at their shop, located in Grantsville, MD.

“We took the concept GRMC provided us and fabricated the boxes using typical shop tooling,” said Eric Guthrie, Vice President of Operations at Pillar Innovations. “It means a lot to our team that we were able to create this critical piece of protection for area healthcare workers.”

The hospital now has 5 protective boxes stationed in different departments, where an intubation may be performed.

“Pillar immediately went to work creating these boxes for the hospital as soon as we reached out to them,” Ms. Thayer continued. “Their effort has helped us provide an extra level of care and protection for the community and our staff.”

Although COVID-19 cases in the county have remained low, GRMC has been working to prepare the hospital for a possible influx of patients due to the virus. Thanks to Pillar Innovations’ help, the hospital now has an added layer of protection that will allow medical staff to safely provide critical care to COVID-19 patients.