Community helps supply frontline COVID-19 healthcare workers with 3D-printed masks

May 19, 2020 | by Edward-Elmhurst Health
Categories: Healthy Driven Heroes

When the coronavirus pandemic began, personal protective equipment (PPE) was in such high demand that it was nearly impossible to find through the usual supply chains.

Hospital administrators turned to the community for donations of PPE.

Bob Nightingale, Edward-Elmhurst Health’s manager of Environmental Health and Safety, posted a message on his south Naperville neighborhood’s Facebook page asking for donations.

That sparked a movement among his neighbors that has resulted in a steady stream of PPE being donated to Edward Hospital.

One neighbor posted that she knew someone who had a 3D printer, and that she was supplying materials so they could print face shields and frames for face shields as well as “ear savers,” a piece of plastic with notches on the ends that works as an adapter for the face mask to loop around (instead of around the ears), so the mask fits more comfortably for long-term wear.

“There are a lot of people being very generous during hard times in their own lives,” says Nightingale. “It’s amazing how people network and how powerful that is. I don’t know how to pay them back. I just keep saying thank you.”

Rohan Iyer, 17, started printing 3D masks after his dad, Raj Iyer, system director of Business Intelligence and Analytics, asked him whether he thought he could do it.

Iyer, a senior at Waubonsie Valley High School in Aurora, found some open source mask patterns and printed a prototype that was tested at the hospital. He and his friends with 3D printers created several prototypes and are now testing filters and modifying the mask design.

“The next step would be to find out how many masks we need at a base level and put those into production. We want to make sure each person who needs one gets one,” Iyer says.

Edward-Elmhurst Health is accepting all commercially and homemade PPE as emergency back-up supplies. In the event we do not need to use those supplies, we will work with other organizations to put them to use. Items most needed include:

  • N95 masks
  • Procedural/surgical masks
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Disinfectant wipes
  • Nitrile gloves
  • Isolation gowns
  • Goggles
  • Thermometers

If you have new, unused equipment and would like to donate, please visit us at our loading docks and we will receive your donation in a safe manner. Donations can be accepted between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Edward Hospital’s loading dock is located on Osler Drive west of the South Parking Garage. Elmhurst Hospital’s loading dock is located on Harvard Street on the north end of the building.

Get the latest coronavirus information from Edward-Elmhurst Health.

The information in this article may change at any time due to the changing landscape of this pandemic. Read the latest on COVID-19.

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