Coronavirus: NI firm helps develop shield for healthcare staff

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A County Londonderry firm has teamed up with medical experts to develop a shield to protect healthcare staff.

It sits over patients' heads and is being used across the world.

Seating Matters in Limavady took an existing prototype and worked with Irish designers and anaesthetists to produce the item.

Health experts say inserting and extracting ventilation tubes for a patient are the most dangerous procedures for clinical staff.

The procedure leads to the risk of a greater exposure to aerosol generation.

The box is designed to contain coronavirus when it becomes airborne and prevent it from going on to contaminate doctors and nurses while they ventilate a patient.

The initiative is not-for-profit and the product is being offered at cost.

image copyrightGuard Med
image captionThe shield fits over the head of a patient

The manufacturers have made it an open source design, which means others can take it and put it into production in their own countries.

Martin Tierney, a director of Seating Matters, said the design had been produced in as short a timeframe as possible to try and reduce the risk to clinicians working with coronavirus patients.

"During intubation and extubation of a Covid-19-positive patient, there is an increased risk of contamination to the clinician carrying out those procedures," he said.

"A clinician in Taiwan developed this shield, a box shield for his patients, and a group of Irish designers, manufacturers and clinicians have come together to improve on that design for an Irish hospital setting.

"It is designed to fit on the trolley or the operating table and to give the clinician's hands access to the patient at the head end.

"The product has evolved so that it is now a tapered design, so the head end is a little narrower, so that it can fit on the surgical table.

"It also means that they can be stacked for transportation if a hospital is ordering multiple units."

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