Rogers design company builds devices to help doctors during COVID-19 outbreak

KNWA

ROGERS, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Northwest Arkansas businesses are doing their part to aid hospitals and doctors as coronavirus cases continue to rise. A design company built a device that’ll add an extra layer of protection for Mercy Hospital doctors during the COVID-19 intake process.

A Plexiglas box design was shared by a Taiwanese physician for free, said Dr. Jason McKinney. The box goes over a patient’s head while doctors insert breathing tubes that’re hooked up to a ventilator. Though the device isn’t a foolproof way of preventing COVID-19 spread during a period of high risk, it gives an extra layer of protection.

“This is a simple but yet great idea,” McKinney said. “[I thought] ‘I wonder how we can get our hands on this.'”

Resource Design in Rogers stepped in to assist in creating the boxes. They depended on other businesses like RoArk Group, Early Bird Creative, Assembled Products and Rogers Experimental House to donate materials and assembly labor.

The design company doesn’t make any specifications, said Dayton Castleman, the project leader. Instead, it’s up to the medical community to ask for specific tweaks.

“Doctor says, ‘this is what I want,’ [we] get it to him,” Castleman said. “Doctor says, ‘can you make these changes?’ [we] make the changes and get another one to him.”

If a larger, retail supply is requested by the medical community, Castleman said the plan is to contact manufacturers that can deal with that workload. At this point, it’s simply about giving local doctors an added tool.

“They can’t go home to their garage and make one of these things, which is probably what they would do if they were able to,” Castleman said. “We’re just trying to be the garage.”

The plan is to build 50 more boxes soon, Castleman said, and McKinney said this shows it’s not just doctors that’re needed to battle COVID-19.

“It’s not just our job here in healthcare,” McKinney said. “This is our community’s job to get through this, and everyone’s doing what they can to help out.”

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