MVNU alum builds barriers against COVID-19
“Give me about an hour.” That is all the time it took for a Mount Vernon Nazarene University alum to fabricate a clear plastic box that would protect medical staff while intubating a patient with COVID-19.
Jay Ruffner, owner of Shamrock Plastics in Mount Vernon, Ohio, was contacted by an employee at Knox Community Hospital to see if he could build a box designed by a doctor in Taiwan. He happened to be familiar with the device as his wife, a nurse at KCH, had shown it to him the day before.
Not long after the request, Ruffner was making the two-mile drive to allow KCH staff the opportunity to see how well the box worked for their needs.
The design is actually rather simple — a three-sided box with two holes in the back side to allow access to the patient. Medical professionals asked Ruffner to add another set of holes so that a nurse could assist with intubation. The end result was several boxes produced for the hospital.
“The devices Mr. Ruffner was able to manufacture provide an added layer of protection (in combination with other recommended Personal Protection Equipment) for all staff in the room during certain procedures such as intubation and bronchoscopy,” said Jeffrey Scott, KCH director of marketing and development. “Mr. Ruffner’s devices help contain secretion which may become aerosolized during these processes. So far, they have been used in our Intensive Care Unit, though they could be utilized in a few different settings, should the need arise.”
Shamrock Plastics now has contributed to the manufacturing of these devices for hospitals in Texas, Maryland, South Carolina, and several in Ohio.
The company’s response to COVID-19 needs does not stop with health care devices. They have also installed partitions in grocery stores, libraries, and offices, and they have partnered with other local manufacturers to make face masks.
“Right now, everyone is doing what they are called to do,” Ruffner said. “Helping in any way they can, whether that’s cutting face masks out of different types of plastic or cutting boxes like we made — you just do what you do because the next person on that table getting intubated could be you, your mom, dad, or kids. I think we all have that duty.”