Above: A Patient Isolation Transport Unit created by Dr. Mark Comunale being wheeled into hospital
A local doctor is seeking Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for a Patient Isolation Transport Unit he created to move COVID-19 patients around.
Dr. Mark Comunale, head of anesthesiology at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton, has created a unit to easily transport and limit the spread of the infectious coronavirus disease.
In an interview with KABC-TV News, Comunale said he wants to protect the healthcare workers from contracting the virus.
“We’ve been able to work very closely with the folks at the FDA to get this hopefully to market in the next week or two,” Comunale explained.
Ebola isolation procedures used during the 2014 outbreak required hospitals to create negative pressure rooms that use lower air pressure for Ebola patients. The type of isolation required for Ebola patients was equivalent to patients with the flu. This included putting the patient in a private room.
“When we had Ebola, I was watching them convert rooms into negative-pressure rooms, which is a lot of work. And in addition to that, you have to create an antechamber where you get your equipment on,” said Comunale in an ABC-7 interview.
This technique inspired Comunale to create this unique unit for COVID patients. Creating the same concept to minimize spread by transporting patients around the hospital in a negative pressure unit that traps harmful particles within the space.
The chamber allows a unique negative pressure space to be created around the infected patient. It reduces the spread to not only hospital staff but families as well.
The unit is made of medical-grade vinyl, gloved access for medical staff to use along with personal protective equipment.
Once approved by the FDA, Comunale has a manufacturer in mind willing to produce 600 units a week.