Published on October 14, 2020

Building Effective Solutions for Care Safety

Healthcare teams caring for the sickest of COVID-19 patients face a high risk of being exposed to the disease during intubation — placing a breathing tube in the patient’s airway so a ventilator can provide oxygen and ventilate the lungs.

At Concord Hospital, providers who perform intubations now have an added layer of protection, thanks to some research by Emergency Department Medical Director Dr. Nicholas Larochelle and a local company that stepped up to quickly make a new device.

COVID-19 is transmitted through droplets and tiny particles carried in the air. The virus can spray from patients who are being intubated, putting the medical team at risk.

Based on a design provided by the Hospital, Kentek Corp., in Pittsfield, made clear Plexiglas boxes that cover a patient’s head, shielding providers as they reach through armholes in the box to place the breathing tube.

“During intubation, the droplet particles can release into the air,” Dr. Larochelle said. “The box helps contain some of those particles and prevents them from reaching us.”

Kentek had reached out to help during the COVID-19 response, so when the Hospital learned of the intubation boxes, it made the call. Kentek manufactured 12 boxes for the Emergency Department, Intensive Care Unit and Operating Room. Obtaining intubation boxes is but one example of how Concord Hospital has remained resilient during the rapid pace of change in understanding and responding to COVID-19.

“I feel the Hospital has done an outstanding job supporting providers, nursing and the rest of our team to keep us safe and give us all of the tools we need to care for patients,” said Larochelle.