Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Saxony senior creates intubation boxes to protect medical professionals

Wednesday, April 15, 2020
A medical professional demonstrates the use of an intubation box on doctor Andrew B. Hyatt.
Submitted from Andrew B. Hyatt’s Facebook.

Upon hearing his father encountered patients with COVID-19 in the emergency room, Saxony Lutheran High School senior and prospective Redhawk Andrew Hyatt got an idea to help protect his father and other medical professionals during this pandemic.

“That’s why intubation chambers really took my mind,” Hyatt said. “I don’t want my dad getting this.”

Hyatt began building protective intubation boxes out of the shop on his parents’ property in Cape Girardeau county to provide his dad with protective equipment to prevent the transmission of the virus.

Intubation boxes provide a barrier between doctor and patient during procedures and exams, according to the New England Journal of Medicine. Positioned over the patient’s upper body, the box provides a higher level of protection from bodily fluids than other personal protective equipment.

His father, Andrew B. Hyatt, specializes in emergency medicine at SoutheastHEALTH in Cape Girardeau, and also works shifts at a hospital in south St. Louis. He graduated from Southern Utah University and University of Health Sciences, serving residencies at Genesys Regional Medical Center and Mercy General Health Partners.

Based on the intubation box creation by Dr. Adam Beckett, DO, of University Hospital in Columbia, Missouri, Hyatt first researched the intubation box design and function before drafting his own blueprint. Hyatt explained Beckett’s original design was made for providing care in an ambulance, so he wanted to widen the box and make it suitable for an emergency room.

As for the materials? He started with inexpensive and easily available PVC pipe. The clear covering was a bit more difficult to locate, he said; he consulted his father, who said the material would need to be completely transparent to give the best treatment possible.

He eventually decided upon using Saran wrap to provide both protection and visibility for the boxes.

The construction of his first box took around two hours, Hyatt said, as he had to design, cut the materials and assemble the box. Wrapping the box twice with Saran wrap proved the most difficult and took the most time, Hyatt said.

Hyatt attends Saxony Lutheran High School in Jackson, which shifted to online learning March 19. While he said much of his future seems unclear due to uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, he is considering majoring in biology or chemistry at Southeast next year.

Hyatt said it’s important to focus on improving personal protection equipment for doctors and better preparing hospitals.

After the initial construction of the first intubation box for his father’s work at SoutheastHEALTH, Hyatt constructed a second for his work at the St. Louis emergency room.

Hyatt said he plans to keep making the boxes to help keep medical professionals safe.

“I would love it if more hospitals focused on higher protection for their doctors,” Hyatt said. “If I could maybe just help by making more or making a more intricate design, that could be utilized in a hospital. That way they have it, like in a back room, and if they need it then they can use it, because who knows what could happen.”