BILLINGS, Mont. - Health care providers everywhere are on the front lines of the global coronavirus pandemic while their supply of personal protective equipment is dwindling. In response, Billings Clinic Neurosurgeon, Dusty Richardson, says health care professionals at Billings Clinic have been limited to using one mask per day.
"In general, especially as a surgeon, those masks frequently become soiled. They frequently get blood or other bodily fluids on them and that's why we change them out after every single case," he says.
Dr. Richardson, along with Billings-area dentist Spencer Zaugg and his son Colton took this as a call to action.
"This is a replacement for any place you would use a general surgical mask," says Dr. Richardson.
Colton Zaugg was able to design a reusable mask that can be washed off after each use.
"We can change out used pieces of surgical masks, so a single mask can get multiple uses and it simply inserts into the mask. It helps us to maintain the standard of care we want to maintain for our patients and for ourselves," continues Dr. Richardson.
So just how far will this reusable mask extend existing resources? The designer, Colton Zaugg tells us.
"The great thing about this mask is we can swap out these filter patches and you can make about 6-10 filter patches from one surgical mask that you already have so if you have 1,000 surgical masks, you can extend that lifetime to about 6-10 thousand."
Dr. Richardson and the Zauggs encourage other health care professionals to collaborate with them. The mask design can be downloaded from the Billings Clinic website and printed on any 3D printer.
"The file is free, it's available, they just need to download it and start printing," says Dr. Spencer Zaugg.