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Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Doctor, engineer create 3D face shields to overcome shortage of PPEs

Malaysiakini

CORONAVIRUS | A contract medical officer from Penang General Hospital's neurosurgical department has collaborated with an engineer friend to initiate the idea of 3D printed face shields to protect frontliners battling the Covid-19 virus.
Dr Seet Jia Sheng (photo), who is currently working as a frontliner under Penang GH Covid-19 screening team, said PPEs (personal protective equipment) are running out in most of the hospitals.
But thanks to the initiative, 300 pieces of the face shields have been sent to Penang GH, 75 pieces are being dispatched to the emergency department and 225 pieces were sent to the Covid-19 ward.
With the help of the Penang Science Cluster, 3D printers are being used to produce the shield.
Dr Seet and his engineer friend and former school mate Ooi Shiong Yirk, also 28, are planning to do injection moulding, where they hope to produce 2,000 pieces of the face shield brackets by next week.
"We will then be able to cover the emergency department, the Covid-19 ward, including Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and operation theatre.
"Hopefully, the clinics will also receive these aid," Seet told Malaysiakini.
Shields safe to use
Seet said the face shields were designed and tested with Penang GH's infectious disease department and Clinical Research Centre Penang.
"So it’s safe to use for frontliners who are taking swab tests for patients, as well as surgeons who are conducting operations," he said.
Seet explained that frontliners at the hospital needed to wear at least two layers of PPEs during work.
They toil under the hot sun for eight hours a day, on two shifts - 7am to 4pm, 3pm to 12am.
He does not complain about the inconvenience he goes through during work. 
"Doing national service is part of our responsibility.
"However, is sad knowing that there will be no more permanent post for medical officers like me after this," said Seet, who just completed his housemanship last July.
Malaysia is currently under a Movement Control Order from March 18 to April 14, where the number of cases are at 2,626, while 2,110 in treatment, 479 discharged and 37 deaths.
Engineers can also help
Asked how he embarked on the noble initiative, Seet said Ooi, who is working in the 3D printing industry approach him with the idea of 3D printed face shield.
Both realised that this is more handy, cost effective, and environmental friendly.
"Compared to our Do-It-Yourself sponge face shield, which we need to discard every time after seeing one patient, this 3D printed face shield is more convenient as we just need to discard the plastic frame and replace it with a new one.
"The plastic brackets are safe to immerse into the disinfectant solution," Seet explained.
He thanked Ooi, who will be supporting Penang GH with 200 sets of this 3D printed face shield and 3,000 disposable plastic frames.
He welcomed other 3D printing engineers, who are keen to join him and Ooi, in the fight against Covid-19.
He provided a link for the softcopy of this face shield, where those interested can start printing them and distribute to their nearest hospital.
"This collaboration (with Ooi and Penang Science Cluster) has really raised the spirit of patriotism and humanity in everyone even though we are in different fields.
"It is proven that engineers are also capable of helping the community.
"Medicine requires technology and it was the right timing that my engineer friend Oooi bumped into me and gave me a helping hand," said Seet, gratefully. - Mkini

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