Filipino replicates device designed by Taiwanese doctor

Taiwanese-designed device meant to protect doctors from coronavirus being adopted in the Philippines

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Anton Legaspi demonstrating device. (Facebook, Anton Legaspi photo)

Anton Legaspi demonstrating device. (Facebook, Anton Legaspi photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A device designed by a Taiwanese doctor to better protect medical workers as they intubate patients has already been replicated by a doctor in the Philippines, where cases of Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) have climbed to 501, including 33 deaths.

On his Facebook page on Saturday (March 21), Lai Hsien-yung (賴賢勇), an anesthesiologist at Mennonite Christian Hospital in eastern Taiwan's Hualien, wrote that as a growing number of patients must be placed on a ventilator due to severe respiratory complications associated with COVID-19, Lai designed what he has dubbed the "Aerosol box." The simple device consists of a transparent plastic box with an opening on one side allowing it to fit over the patient's chest and neck, while the opposite side has two small holes through which doctors can insert their hands.

Lai registered his invention under a Creative Commons license, and it is free to the public as long as it is properly attributed to him and is not used for commercial purposes. Lai and his colleagues on Sunday (March 22) uploaded the schematic for the cube on a website, where it can be downloaded for free.

Anton Legaspi, a designer, and his sister, Frances Legaspi, an emergency room physician at Antipolo Doctors Hospital, spotted the device on social media on Sunday (March 22). Frances asked Anton if he could replicate the device, as medical supplies are running short at her hospital, which is located 25 kilometers east of Manila.

The two then downloaded the design and came up with their own version of the device the next morning. They were fortunate enough to find a supplier who was able to produce a prototype on short notice despite the lockdown of Metro Manila, reported CNA.

By Monday (March 23), Legaspi posted photos of his take on the apparatus. He said that he made some modifications to the dimensions to "maximize the raw material for less wastage" and managed to bring the price down from NT$2,000 (US$66) to a mere 1,500 pesos (US$29) per unit.

Based on input from workers in the medical field, he made the holes larger for the arms "for additional maneuverability and protection," according to the report. As news of his spin on the Taiwanese device spread, Legaspi took to Facebook on Tuesday (March 24) to write "Thank you Dr. Lai Hsien-yung for sharing to the world your invention."