Nurse saver

Erick Knezek (left) and Dr. Doug Clement designed the NRSAVR-100, also known as the "Nurse Saver," which recently got FDA approval. 

Erick Knezek, Navy veteran and founder of Oceanetics, Inc., spoke with Jan Swift of the Discover Lafayette podcast to discuss his company’s newest FDA approved COVID-19 medical device, the NRSAVR-100, otherwise known as the “nurse saver.”

You can listen to their podcast here.

The device was developed with the expertise of Dr. Doug Clement, who with Our Lady of Lourdes in Lafayette and is currently treating COVID patients. Clement was instrumental in starting the virus screening program at the Cajundome and has helped develop methods for testing and keeping health care workers safe.

Clement and Knezek discussed the hazards health care workers face when treating COVID patients, as well as the rapid rate in personal protective equipment is depleted as staff move from room to room. In a typical scenario when a patient is intubated, the physician wears an intubation hood for protection from the potential release of droplets from the patient’s airways, but the support staff surrounding the doctor are still subjected to the aerosolized virus particles.

A concurrent and expensive need in hospitals treating COVID patients is to have sufficient isolation rooms that keep the patient from spreading the disease to others. Negative pressure rooms are utilized to maintain lower air pressure inside the room so as to keep contaminated air from escaping into non-contaminated areas and infecting others. These rooms are expensive and in relatively short supply.

With Clement's guidance, Knezek created a design for the nurse saver to create a closed air system that surrounds the patient's head, neck and shoulders with plexiglass and rubber barriers. The device has two valves that pump in air from the hospital’s ventilation system but keep contaminated air from being released back into the room.

Six rubber shrouds contain armholes so that health care workers can stick their arms in to access the patient to intubate, hook up monitors, insert tubes or deliver medications without breaking the seal. The contaminants are sucked out by the nurse saver which filters the contaminated air. The design was tweaked a bit after testing and the final prototype has received FDA Emergency Use Authorization.

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Follow Adam Daigle on Twitter, @adamdaigleAdv.