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NC Clinical Leaders Harness 3-D Tech to Provide PPE for Frontline Health Care Workers

PPE protects people on the frontlines saving others from the scourge of COVID-19
Credit: Physicians in Durham

DURHAM, N.C. — Doctors, nurses, technicians, nursing home staff, and just about anyone who works in a health care setting needs more PPE, or Personal Protective Equipment. PPE protects people on the frontlines saving others from the scourge of COVID-19 that today has essentially shut down the State of North Carolina.

Teams of doctors and engineers from NC hospitals and local universities are working around the clock to mass-produce face shields they designed using 3-D printing and injection molding technology. 

“Our goal is simple: we want Health Care Workers to use the Hashtag #GetMeAltPPE, and use www.AltPPE.me to let us know their need. We will send them as many face shields as possible.”

"What we need is for health systems and practices, especially the ones that don't have reliable access... to the traditional PPE supply chain to use this website to be connected to those producers," said Dr. Azalea Kim, an Organizer with #GetMeAltPPE and practicing physician in Durham.  "This equipment has been clinically vetted.  The design stood up to rigorous clinical use testing in emergency departments and ICUs at Atrium Health.  There has been constant clinical feedback from the start."  

It was an enterprising team from Charlotte Latin school that launched the work in Charlotte, including a successful GoFundMe that fueled the ability to bring the design to reality.  

Top Universities including UNCC, UNC Chapel Hill, NC State, and Duke are combining their efforts to meet the demand. Dr. Kim stresses that these are not masks, but shields. Health Care Workers would still wear masks, but also place a shield over their faces-- allowing the workers to wear the masks for an extended amount of time. The teams are working on designs to address other PPE shortages.

Any health care organization, including hospitals, practices, nursing homes, hospice organizations can visit HERE and fill out the simple form to request shields that are ramping up for production this week. 

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