Atrium doctor, husband design device to protect health care workers from coronavirus

An Atrium Medical Center doctor, her husband and a Franklin manufacturing company have teamed to provide medical professionals with “one extra layer of protection” from the coronavirus.

The hospital recently started using an “intubation box” when treating patients in respiratory distress such as those experiencing symptoms of coronavirus, or those confirmed positive with COVID-19.

Before a patient can be placed on a ventilator, they must have a tube inserted into their mouth and airway. During this medical procedure, particles are often coughed up by the patient and into the faces of the medical team.

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Dr. Tina Kummerle saw a prototype of an intubation box being used in Taiwan. The more she studied the box and its benefits, she said, “It all made sense.”

She talked to her husband, Kevin, who owns Metalex Manufacturing in Blue Ash. They redesigned the Taiwan model with added features and then sent drawings to 3-D Technical Services in Franklin. Bill Wurzelbacher, vice president there, told Kummerle that if he provided the material, his company would perform the labor for free.

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There are three boxes available at Atrium and they started being used two weeks ago, she said. When asked if she felt more protected while using the box during an intubation procedure, she said: “Absolutely. It was really nice. Felt like we had an additional layer of protection.”

She is hoping to share her prototype with fellow clinicians in the Cincinnati/Dayton region.

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