Emergency department doctor, South Shore Public Libraries, partner to create 3D model airway

by Keith Corcoran

  • <p>SUBMITTED PHOTO</p><p>A look at a 3D-printed airway, courtesy of South Shore Public Libraries.</p>

South Shore Public Libraries and Fishermen's Memorial Hospital emergency department physician Dr. Tom Dietz recently teamed up for the good of science to ensure health care providers can practice their airway-related expertise.

Dietz reached out to one of the local library branches, believing those working the frontlines would need creative training tools to be prepared for emergencies in case the system gets a massive influx of patients with breathing problems.

Dietz sought a 3D print-out of a human airway and thought of the library's 3D printer, and thereby involved an institution better known for books and entertainment in supporting healthcare providers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The doctor emailed his request in late March, considering the plea "critical for medical support of the community," South Shore Public Libraries quoted Dietz's email.

"He sent over a file; we tweaked it to our printer. We printed him off some prototypes, and he had a quick look at them," South Shore Public Libraries Chief Librarian Troy Myers recently told the News 95.7 radio station.

Dietz picked up the models, "and I think they were in use the next day as training tools," Myers said.

Myers added that completing tasks such as that is an innovative way to help get through challenging times.

In a statement to LighthouseNOW, the library indicated it had the first model printed and delivered to Dietz within three hours. "We never know what will happen when we help that ten-year-old to print a model for their science fair project. But printing this model airway felt like the future had arrived," commented Christina Pottie, South Shore Public Libraries' community engagement coordinator.

In the statement, Dietz indicated he would pass on news of the new simulation tool to other emergency departments physicians in the region.

"I would say this device is really good at simulating the physical landmarks you need to find to do the procedure safely and effectively," Dietz said.

In an interview with CBC News, the doctor called the device a good visual tool that helps with confidence. "The first time I used this model, it just helped a great deal with the stress of, what if I have to do this," he told the network.

Meanwhile, in a statement to LighthouseNOW, Myers urged the public to keep the ideas coming.

"We are willing to help whenever required," he said. "While we need to maintain physical distance now, South Shore Public Libraries will keep communities connected."

The agency recently bolstered its digital offerings but introduced so-called curbside pickup to support those wishing to pick up physical materials.

"It's amazing to see the breadth of what people are requesting and taking out; everything from large print slashers to children's board books, and the non-fiction things too," Pottie told LighthouseNOW.

"Our purpose is to help people feel connected and for many people in our area, and with our demographics, online resources aren't always an option or a choice."

Details can be found by checking out https://www.southshorepubliclibraries.ca on the internet.

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