Innovation has become more important in health care during the COVID-19 pandemic as hospitals look for ways to provide care more safely to prevent the spread of the virus amongst their staff.
Stevens Industries, Inc. of Teutopolis, is the largest commercial cabinet company in North America, serving mostly hospitals and schools in 35 states. While they are used to manufacturing cabinetry, they recently took time to manufacture and donate an important tool to help keep staff at HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital Highland safe – a intubation box.
Intubation – inserting a breathing tube into a patient’s throat to ease breathing – is done when a patient needs assistance breathing. Intubating a patient and placing them on a ventilator is a common procedure and can be done for various health reasons: surgery, pneumonia, asthma, bronchitis and now, COVID-19.
What is a routine procedure is now complicated by the fact that the clinician doesn’t know if the patient they are helping is sick with the coronavirus. Intubation boxes – like the one created by Stevens Industries – add a level of protection for the provider as they are intubating the patient.
An intubation box is a three-sided, clear, acrylic plastic box that covers a sedated patient’s head and upper body. On one side of the box is two holes that the clinician can put their hands into to be able to intubate the patient while the top of the clear box helps providers avoid direct contact or proximity with the patient, thus reducing the exposure to the COVID-19 virus. The box can also be cleaned and disinfected.
Stevens Industries President Todd Wegman shared how the creation and donation of the intubation box came about. “I was approached by a hospital facilities director from Tampa, FL who had photos of these boxes and inquired whether we could possibly manufacture them,” he said. “Seeing how local hospitals could benefit from them, I shared the idea with my team and they set out to create and produce some. We are happy to help hospitals provide critical care safely.”
HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital’s Director of Emergency Services Amanda Ennen shared her appreciation for the creation and donation of the intubation box. “A main concern during this pandemic is how to keep our colleagues as safe as possible as they are providing care to those in need,” she said. “We are extremely grateful for this donation which will add a level of protection for our providers.”
Besides the box donated to HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital, Stevens Industries also donated an intubation box each to HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital in Effingham, HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital in Breese and HSHS Holy Family Hospital in Greenville.