Heroes fighting COVID-19 on the frontlines

Heroes fighting COVID-19 on the frontlines
From the very beginning of this COVID-19 journey, staff and leadership at the Salisbury VA Health Care System have gone above and beyond to ensure the safety of not only the Veterans they serve, but also to ensure the safety of each other as well. (Source: Salisbury VA Medical Center)

SALISBURY, N.C. (WBTV) - Provided to WBTV by the Salisbury VA Medical Center: From the very beginning of this COVID-19 journey, staff and leadership at the Salisbury VA Health Care System have gone above and beyond to ensure the safety of not only the Veterans they serve, but also to ensure the safety of each other as well.

It all began with a drawing on a sheet of paper.

Dr. Charles de Comarmond, Associate Professor of Medicine and Infectious Diseases, Associate Chief of Staff for Medicine, and VISN 6 Infection Prevention Consultant designed a portable, over-the-bed negative pressure intubation tent/cage.

Dr. de Comarmond met with Joseph Laurer, Chief of Engineering; Steven Parris, Assistant Chief of Engineering; and Tim Draper, Facility and Operations Supervisor to share his thoughts and see if a prototype could be built. Engineering put together a team of different disciplines and talents that could help brainstorm Dr. de Comarmond’s idea. This team included; Steven Parris; Tim Draper; Matthew (Shane) Gannon, Construction Crew Supervisor; Dale Lawson, Machine Shop Supervisor and Brian Ritchie, Building Maintenance Supervisor.

Within days, the team had built a prototype and was ready for testing. Dr. de Comarmond suggested changes and the team went to work on developing a prototype that would meet Dr. de Comarmond’s clinical requirements.

The engineering team, in collaboration with the clinical team, developed a device that would allow for safe performance of aerosol generating procedures in areas without airborne isolation rooms (negative pressure rooms).

Anesthesiologist and critical specialists along with nursing and respiratory staff input within the ICU setting tested the prototype for intubations. The unit was tested at different tilt angles. The units are able to generate > -0.01 negative pressure and greater than 100 air exchanges per hour in preliminary testing. Going forward, these units will be used for intubations and extubating procedures in the Operating Rooms and any location in the hospital, nebulizer treatments and non-invasive, positive pressure interventions.

This will ensure that we enhance the safety of all staff during performance of aerosol generating procedures in areas where there are no airborne isolation rooms and thus reduce risk of hospital acquired COVID-19 infection.

The Engineering team named the unit the “D5000.” The “D” is for Dr. de Comarmond and the “5000” is for the five Engineering staff. As of Friday, April 17, 2020, the Engineering staff was given approval to put four units into production to help combat the COVID-19 virus, while keeping our Veterans and staff safe under these extremely new circumstances called COVID-19.

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