When Anthony Foster, Operations Manager – Product Design Engineer, heard from one of the staff at King’s Daughters Medical Center that because they were running low on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) shields and masks, healthcare workers were making their own to help protect themselves until new PPE would be delivered – which could take weeks. Additionally, the PPE needs were not just at the local Medical Center but at healthcare facilities across Mississippi. When she told Anthony she had to borrow her husband’s grinding shield to use at the hospital, he went into action.
Anthony looked to Primos for assistance. Primos donated a 3D printer that is normally used to develop new products. There was also an inventory of plastic rolls no longer needed for production, but perfect for the shield headbands. Primos’ employees chipped in to purchase clear overhead projector sheets for the shields. The sheets had the right thickness yet were lightweight enough for the 3D headbands. The plastic headbands are not a big cost and can be printed quickly. They are designed with holes on the side for adjustable straps to ensure a good fit. With a simple three-hold punch, new shields could easily be replaced as needed.
While the initial production of 50 shields was planned just for the hospital, Anthony learned the shortage extended to other medical facilities, including nursing homes and veterinary clinics. Cindy delivered the first 50 shields to the hospital and another 30 to local clinics. And, that isn’t the end of it! The family is working on the next batch of deliveries.
Anthony and his wife, Cindy, have always believed in teaching their daughter, Addyson and son, Colton valuable life lessons. Anthony explains, “It is the responsibility of the individual, not the government or a company or someone else to step up when there is a need…just as Primos supports its customers and the local community; and the hospital takes care of Primos’ employees and family members when needed. We are all in this together and we all share the responsibility to do right when we can.”
Since Addyson and Colton were home from school due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they took on some of the jobs needed to create the shields – peeling and cleaning the shields prior to being attached to the headbands. Both found their hard work to be very rewarding. And the response from healthcare workers has been satisfying and humbling.
What’s next? Anthony, a former rescue medic, is working on a design that a uses with ambu bags – a manual resuscitator oxygen bag that is an emergency replacement for a ventilator. An ambu bag needs to be hand-squeezed to provide a patient with a consistent flow of oxygen. Anthony’s solution would attach to an ambu bag and deliver an automated supply of oxygen freeing up the need for a manual solution to work as an emergency ventilator. This method may be the fastest way to make a crude ventilator.
Anthony hopes this will influence others to find a way they can help. “God has blessed us all with an ability to help in some way,” he said.