Norton Healthcare, GE Appliances/FirstBuild create plastic boxes to protect caregivers

FirstBuild’s engineers found material, enhanced the design and received feedback along the way. FirstBuild ultimately made 16 intubation shields.

When a request for intubation shields for area hospitals came in, FirstBuild was happy to help.

A staff member from Norton Hospital came across an article written by an anesthesiologist in Taiwan, Dr. Lai Hsien-yung, who released a design for a clear box to increase physicians’ safety as they intubate patients.

“When Kim Flanders, our chief nursing officer at Norton Hospital, asked if anyone knew someone who could build an intubation box to shield providers while intubating COVID-19 patients, my first thought was FirstBuild,” said Carl Amorose, vice president of operations/finance at Norton Hospital. “GE Appliances has always proven to be innovative and forward thinking.”

A team from Norton Hospital sent the sketch to GE Appliances engineer and FirstBuild alum Sam DuPlessis. Sam worked on a design, then turned to FirstBuild.

FirstBuild’s engineers found material, enhanced the design and received feedback along the way. After trying the initial samples, Heather Smith, director, surgical services, Norton Hospital; Susan Vinci, M.D., anesthesiologist; and Bashar Alhariri, M.D., pulmonologist and critical care specialist, provided feedback to modify the shields. FirstBuild ultimately made 16 intubation shields.

“We’re so appreciative of the efforts of health care workers in our community and are happy to help meet this need,” said Larry Portaro, executive director of FirstBuild.

“A collaboration such as this is invaluable,” said Lynnie Meyer, Ed.D., R.N., CFRE, senior vice president and chief development officer for Norton Healthcare. “We are grateful for the partnership and for their willingness to work with us to care for our patients while providing an extra layer of protection in fighting this virus.”

“We are so fortunate to have GE Appliances and FirstBuild step up and support the health care effort during this pandemic,” Carl said.

FirstBuild is a global co-creation community backed by GE Appliances. 

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