As the second and a more dangerous wave of Covid19 is taking its toll on people and healthcare workers (HCWs) toiling for over a year, an innovative solution, adapted from abroad at a fraction of the cost is helping check the virus during hospital procedures.
Interestingly, this unique and innovative solution, a portable pressurised isolation system, has been developed by doctors from Mumbai’s Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy hospital (JJ Hospital) in association with MediMek Industries and IndoMed Devices. It provides safe transportation for infected and high-risk non-infected patients in hospitals facilities as well as in ambulances in a sort of capsule.
Speaking about this to Moneylife News, Dr Hemant Jawale a 3rd Year resident from the General surgery department of JJ Hospital said, “it's a dual pressurized patient transport system in which we can transport the covid positive patients in negative pressure mode. We can do this both for intra-hospital transfer or hospital to hospital transfer in the ambulance without cross infecting family members or health Care Workers(HCWs)”
Originally designed and conceptualised by Dr Ajay H Bhandarwar head of department (HOD)of General Surgery, JJ Hospital, the Pressurised Protective Transport Chamber (PPTC), known as “VishanuRakshak” is capable of operating on dual/neutral pressure modes and transporting patients without coming in contact with anyone.
Below is a video prepared by the team showing a trial of the device:
The PPTC in negative mode is particularly efficient in transporting patients who are suffering from COVID-19, Tuberculosis, Ebola, Meningitis along with patients suffering from other viral and respiratory illness and in positive mode, it can be used for transportation of patients whose immune systems are compromised and patients are suffering from post-transplant surgery.
Explaining the efficacy of the system Dr Jawale said, “It has a base with a filter system incorporated so infected air inside the chamber gets filtered through the High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter and comes out clean” The HEPA filter is particularly effective because the disinfection is done using UV-light system which is placed inside the base of the device. The device along with disinfecting the air can also check for temperature, humidity and the air-quality index along with also checking the dust levels.
With a huge rise in covid cases across the country and innumerable HCWs falling victim to the virus, the VishanuRakshak has come in like a boon for medical professionals.
While for now it is only being looked at as a mode of safely transporting covid patients between wards and hospitals without infecting HCWs and their relatives, Dr Jawale added with certainty that the PPTC is much more than that. He said, “We can even do procedures like intubation, sonography through side portals without getting into direct contact with the patient and the negative pressure inside will not let air leak from that portal. It will only come out from base after going through the HEPA filter”
While the benefits of the PPTC is right now restricted to urban areas, Dr Javale is confident if it gets implemented in ambulances, it can be a huge benefit to the rural patients as well.“The best thing is if it gets incorporated in “108 ambulances”it will be very economical for rural patients as relative can travel in the same ambulance with the patient so there is both emotional support to the patient and money-saving” he added with a lot of hope.
At a time when the health budget is quite constrained, MediMek insudtries and IndoMed devices co-manufacturers of the “VishanuRakshak” have been able to effectively optimise the same for Indian markets. While the actual cost of making a PPTC in France is around 18 lakhs in Indian rupees, they have been able to manufacture it at an approximate one-time cost of Rs 3.5 lakhs for hospital including GST. As is the case with all other medical treatments being meted out to patients in government facilities, the PPTC is free of cost for patients who use it.
Officially launched on 5th March, as of now the device is being used for transporting covid patients primarily in St George’s hospital in Mumbai with a few being planned for JJ Hospital and Gokuldas Tejpal Hospital, Mumbai. In the past couple of months, over 15 patients per day have been transported using the PPTC and the feedback from patients and HCWs has been extremely positive.
One look at the device and many feel that it would be suffocating to enter a PPTC. But putting all fears to rest, one Mr Ashok Kukre, a patient who has used the PPTC said, “I was scared in the beginning because it was packed, but the doctors explained it to me that there was no need to be worried, all facilities are inside. I was then reassured.”
He further added, “Once I went inside the pod, there was no difficulty in breathing even though it was shut. Once inside, I could feel cold air which was because of the AC and there was also a flow of oxygen so there was no dikkat(trouble)” Mr Kukre was also happy with the dedication the ward boys and doctors had shown. Speaking on that he said, “they were extremely helpful and supportive and they even played some good music”
Given the nature of the device, a PPTC has to be ordered in advance and can be delivered within some days so that hospitals can use it to fight the current wave of covid. “This is an effective device and has helped patients so we are asking more from government and donors.” concluded Dr Jawale.