In the early months of 2020, New Zealand watched with great concern at the arise and spread of the Covid-19 disease (SARS-CoV-2 virus) overseas. With a very mobile population it was only time before the impact of the disease was felt in New Zealand.
As New Zealand's medical community urgently prepared, Dunedin Hospital's Clinical Director, ICU Dr Craig Carr sought to introduce the respiratory hoods he had clinical experience with in London. These hoods had already proved their worth in those countries first hit with Covid-19 but were not yet commonly used in New Zealand. With such high demand in those countries however, getting these hoods into New Zealand proved impossible. Instead, with support from Minister David Parker, he reached out to the New Zealand engineering community to explore the possibility of making the hoods here in New Zealand. An enthusiastic group of skilled individuals answered the call and began development.
The group formed SouthMED Ltd, a company that brought together their unique blend of skills from commercial and engineering design, to product design and medical practice. The remarkable journey that followed saw a hood designed and ready for mass production in a matter of weeks. Furthermore, with Dr Carr and ENT specialist Dr Leaper acting as advisers, the design team was able to produce a hood capable of containing the viral outflow for each patient, and design a second unique hood for larger physiologies.
SouthMED's patent-pending hood can provide advanced breathing support for people with Covid-19 and other Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) conditions.
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