DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – As hospitals deal with a shortage of personal protective equipment, local organizations are designing a new isolation gown that is being manufactured and used here in the Miami Valley.
The first shipment of these newly designed isolated gowns were delivered Friday afternoon to Premier Health at Miami Valley Hospital.
The design and production was the brainchild of three Miami Valley organizations.
“The one item we’ve not been able to reuse is gowns,” said Dr. Steven Burdette, the Medical Director of Infection Control at Miami Valley Hospital. “We tried to figure out how we could get them on and off without contaminating ourselves and reusing them to help preserve them and it was not effective.”
So Premier Health said they reached out to FastLane. Fastlane is the Manufacturing Extension Partnership for West-Central Ohio housed in the University of Dayton Research Institute.
The Director of FastLane, Phil Ratermann, said they identified substitute material to make the gowns and said the redesigned gown is even a slight improvement to the current one in use.
“My team met with Premier Health folks, got good feedback, we made four, five, or six iterations and we ended up with the design that’s delivered here today,” said Ratermann. “I’m proud to say within two weeks of meeting the guys in Piqua, we had production parts coming off the line.”
FastLane also found and reached out to the manufacturer, Industry Products Company, who has altered production lines to meet this urgent need.
IPC out of Piqua normally makes automotive parts, which the President, Joe Blake, said are not currently being bought. They also already had the desired material, scrim, on hand and are working with FastLane to secure additional supplies.
“Our workforce really got into it Easter weekend, we worked, we built a tool that following week, we worked with the prototypes and the medical staff here at Premier, and we’re just really excited to be able to help,” said Blake.
Blake said with this new endeavor, they have also been able to bring back about 60 furloughed employees to do the production.
“I walk the floor every day, I know most of the folks by name and it was really great to see people that I hadn’t seen in a few weeks,”said Blake. “They’re all grateful to be back at work and this is something you can feel really good about.”
With the current stock of material, IPC will be able to make 55,000 gowns within the next few weeks.
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