Posted: Tue 5th May 2020

Radiologist sets up charity to develop box which protects health professionals from coronavirus

North Wales news and information
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, May 5th, 2020

A radiologist is setting up a charity so an “intubation box” he developed can “save a life to save others” suffering during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dr Ashley Roberts, who grew up in Ruthin, has been working as a consultant radiologist at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board.

He realised one area where clinician’s were at risk during the pandemic was intubating Covid-19 patients who needed help with their breathing.

So he set about designing a simple box that could surround the patient and protect colleagues from aerosols (tiny droplets of fluid) produced by a patient who potentially has the novel coronavirus strain.

The clear plastic box has openings covered by clear plastic sheeting to allow doctors to perform intubation, upper endoscopies (where a camera is inserted down the patient’s oesophagus) and tracheotomies (where an airway is diverted through a hole in the throat).

The prototype is being trialled in all three North Wales hospitals and has been successfully used already in South Wales, as an addition to personal protective equipment (PPE).

After crowdfunding between family and friends to get the prototypes made, Dr Roberts, his brother Garner and his sister Liz Price have applied to HMRC for charitable status so they can roll out the device to all hospitals.

Mrs Price, who still lives in Ruthin, said: “It’s all about saving a life to save others. Ashley wanted to keep himself and his colleagues safe.

“They trialled both with and without the intubation boxes. Without it the aerosols which could contain virus were found on their necks and in their hair.

“Using the box there was no spread at all and the aerosols were completely contained.”

Trials in Bridgend in South Wales have had “very good feedback” according to Mrs Price, although the box is still in a “rapid development phase”.

She added: “More development needs to be done before full roll-out. There are different types of boxes for different procedures.”

Dr Roberts is writing a research paper on the device and the family hope to launch the charity as soon as confirmation arrives.

In the meantime a Just Giving page has been set up at:

By Jez Hemming – Local Democracy Reporter

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