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Care + Germ Containment

Controlling Infectious Diseases

ABC Channel 7, February 26, 2020

Our Health Care Workers Don't Have to Be At Risk

More than 9,000 health care workers across the U.S. contracted COVID-19 as of April 14, 2020, and at least 27 died, according to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Among the 27 who died, only 10 were 65 years old or older. The CDC conceded the report's findings underestimate the number of cases among health care workers because of uneven reporting across the country. While in some states only 3% of COVID-19 patients were health care personnel, the number was closer to 11% in those with more complete reporting. Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, added that health care worker information was only available for 16% of the reported cases. And health care providers who were asymptomatic or had mild symptoms were less likely to be tested, or even reported. "That said, the study still offers important take away lessons," he said.

 

 

The CDC report adds to mounting concern for the health and safety of hospital staff, working on the frontline of the pandemic, in some cases without needed protective equipment. "It is critical to make every effort to ensure the health and safety of this essential national workforce of approximately 18 million (health care personnel), both at work and in the community," the report concluded. "Improving surveillance through routine reporting of occupation and industry not only benefits HCP, but all workers during the COVID-19 pandemic." The report comes a day after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General reported hospitals were facing equipment shortages for N95 respirator masks, surgical masks, face shields, gowns and gloves. Shortages were so severe that some hospitals were experimenting with-medical-grade gear such as construction respirators, cloth masks and handmade gowns, the inspector general reported.

Nurse Maria Gray was terminated from her job at the Research Medical Center in Kansas City, Missouri, after she refused to work a floor full of suspected COVID-19 patients without an N95 respiratory mask. "They are putting my life at risk. They are putting other nurses’ lives at risk. They are putting patients at risk," Gray said. 

"We know the current supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) are inadequate, leaving health care workers worried about protecting themselves," said Robyn Begley, American Hospital Association senior vice president and chief nursing officer. "Increased availability of rapid testing and PPE are both necessary for our health care workers and patients."

"Taking the extra time to make sure proper PPE is worn can be a matter of life and death. It’s as simple as that," Glatter said.

People Don't Have to Die Alone

'We hear you, Dad': A daughter stays on the phone for over 36 hours as her father dies alone from the coronavirus

Abby Adair Reinhard – a mom, a wife and a daughter – spent days and listening to her father die, praying he could hear her voice. "The terror I’ve felt today is unlike anything I've ever experienced, and I can only imagine how hard it has been for you, Dad. I’m so sorry you are going through this nightmare."

Don Adair, 76, was a father of four and a grandfather of five. A retired attorney who doted on his family, he'd traveled with them to Europe, sat on the floor to open Christmas presents, grinned wide at their graduations and bounced them on his knee.

Now, he lay alone in a bed, isolated from other patients at Highland Hospital. He'd fallen at home a few days earlier, and hospital staffers were helping him fight a minor infection. Not a problem, Abby thought at first. Her dad, her rock, never got sick. Then he developed a fever and a cough – coronavirus.

They wondered whether a patient in the hospital had passed along the infection. They talked about how the prognosis was good, how his symptoms were minor. "He was very strong, physically. I'm sure he'll be fine, is what I told myself," she said. "We went to bed thinking, chances are he's going to be OK."

Then came the call. A Highland nurse said things Abby tried to understand: "Aspiration ... deterioration ... suffering ... not much time.”

The nurse put the phone to Don's ear. He couldn't talk, but he could listen. Abby conferenced in her siblings – Tom, Carrie in North Carolina and Emily in Denmark. They stayed on the phone for hours, singing campfire songs, telling stories, remembering their childhood.

They buried their father in the lonely new way – a few words, the Lord's Prayer and "Amazing Grace." Nine people and five minutes at a graveside at the family plot 10 miles from where he died. Her siblings couldn't be there. She sent them a video.

No one wants to die this way, all alone. With the Care + Germ Containment unit, family can be present when the worst happens, without the risk of getting them sick too. It's been proven, that when patient's are surrounded and supported by love ones, they have a higher chance of survival. As well, Care + Germ Containment units can ensure that patients don't infect other patients. 

Taking Care of Those Who Care for Us

ALIN FOUNDATION

Berkeley researchers announced Wednesday, February 26th, that the Care + Germ ContainmentTM are now available to enclose infectious patients while receiving medical attention. These units ensure that medical faculty and other patients are not needlessly at risk to viral exposure. The Chinese government has stated that hundreds of their medics have been infected with the Coronavirus (COVID 19) and that many have succumbed to the virus. Dr. Li Wenliang, who in December 2019 sounded the alarm about the dangers of the Coronavirus becoming an epidemic, is one of the victims.

Dr. Kenneth Matsumura, CEO of ALIN Foundation and a Time magazine-honored medical Inventor of the Year, said ALIN has developed and is prepared to supply clear-view enclosures, in which patients can be treated safely by health workers, without the need to don hazmat suits. ALIN's Care + Germ ContainmentTM unit seals a patient inside the enclosure, and has multiple long-arm gloves extending into the enclosure to allow doctors to start intravenous fluids and nourishments, catheterize the bladder, and intubate patients, in case of respiratory failure.

Dr. Matsumura presented the Care + Germ ContainmentTM unit in a morning press conference and it is now available in various sizes. The display unit is twelve feet long by seven feet high, and accommodates a hospital bed. The patient will also be able to stand and walk a few steps away from the bed. The airflow and temperature will be kept consistently comfortable to reduce patient stress. The enclosure also provides a bathroom that fully sanitizes all biowaste via an incinerator, and air from the enclosure is sterilized before being released outside, preventing contamination outside the unit.

Currently, patients are being treated by medics wearing heavy hazmat suits which take up to an hour to don and, because of the heat generated within the hazmat suits, health care workers can wear them for only hours at a time. Also, removing the suits dramatically increases the risk of spreading the infection, while adding to the volume of bio-hazardous waste. The U.S. National Institute of Health reported one infected ebola patient treated in the US resulted in the accumulation of hazardous caregiving waste filling one hospital room after another.

In 2015, when an infected Ebola patient was brought to Texas to be treated, a doctor and a nurse came down with the virus. For that specific situation, the United States prepared only 64 isolation beds in several locations. “Such meager preparation will not handle a large scale outbreak of any disease, nor deter a bio-terrorist attack. ALIN's Care + Germ ContainmentTM is a medical care unit, but also provides proof to potential bio-terrorists of our preparedness against attacks. It is an emergency unit, and sets a new standard for hospitals to sanitize bio-hazard waste, instead of releasing it into municipal sewer systems, as is the common practice today,” Dr. Matsumura said.

There has been concern that health workers may refuse to show up for work if adequate provisions are not provided to prevent them from catching the infection. ALIN's Care + Germ-ContainmentTM units resolve concerns for care-givers and for patients, who might not receive any care if medical staff are not protected properly. Dr. Matsumura said, “ALIN's germ-containment capsules protect our country and our local communities. It behooves both the National Institute of Health and our country's anti-bio-terrorism unit to stockpile these units for civil defense. “