HONESDALE, Pa. — A robotics team was able to help an area hospital with needed equipment to keep their medical staff safe.
Tech Ed teachers from Honesdale High School are giving health care professionals an important tool to keep doctors safe.
Matt Rickard is the head of the Technology and Engineering department at the school.
He got a call from his sister, a doctor at Wayne Memorial Hospital, wondering if they could construct aerosol boxes to protect doctors.
"She knew what we could do at the school here with our department. She said, 'can you make these?' and I knew instantly, and I said yep," said Matt Rick, Honesdale High School director of the Department of Technology and Engineering.
Matt Rickard then called Joe Mang, a fellow teacher and the instructor for the robotics team at Honesdale.
Mang immediately contacted senior Ryan Forelli, the captain of the robotics team, to assist in drawing the item and getting accurate dimensions.
They found a design online, so it didn't take long for this plan to come to life.
"We had to start with a prototype, and he drew up the prototype for us, so I knew exactly what we could do with one sheet of Lexan to get us going," said Mang.
One day, Mang and Rickardused drawings made by Forelli and created two working prototypes given to Wayne Memorial Hospital.
They reached out to Mesko Glass for help to get more boxes made faster.
With their equipment and access to better materials, Mesko Glass was able to make one aerosol box in one hour.
"All you read about and see about is with the staff getting sick, and God forbid if the doctors aren't available because then we're going to have a big problem," said Gary Mesko, co-owner of Mesko Glass.
Wayne Memorial Hospital has already put two boxes to use in their OR and ER.
Officials at the hospital sent these pictures of Dr. Sean McVeigh, a pulmonologist at the hospital, demonstrating how the box is used by anesthesiologists for intubation.
It was a real-life example for students to do something that impacts the current crisis.
"It's just another opportunity that the kids involved in robotics see the engineering process of taking some design and making it better. Seeing it through and making modifications to make it better for their needs," continued Mang.
Wayne Memorial Hospital now has several confirmed cases of COVID-19 but said they are better prepared to handle it.
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