Several of my friends & family members are healthcare workers serving on the front lines in the fight against the Corona Virus. And my daughter Thalia plans to follow in their footsteps, going off to college in the fall as a pre-med major. I am disheartened by the grave reality that these brave women and men are risking their lives to provide necessary care. As we "shelter in place" and do our part to stop the spread of this disease, I have been sleepless wanting to do something to help them.
I cannot sit on the sidelines in this fight, especially when I know that we can mobilize and make a meaningful difference that will save lives. So here is what I have been working on these past couple of weeks (along with shipping your orders)...
As some background, I have designed medical devices before and actually spent a fair amount of time developing suppliers in China in the medical space, including getting their factories FDA registered. I have now rekindled those relationships and I am currently working on several big projects.
First, I have begun importing N95 masks and other PPE from one of my well known suppliers. I had to jump through some regulatory hurdles but we now have a supply chain flowing with our first 10,000 N95 masks in transit. Once we successfully get the supply chain flowing, we plan to increase importation of these masks and other PPE to 50,000 per week or more. We will then distribute these products to the hospitals that need them most.
Second, I have been working on several designs of new products that are desperately needed on the front lines. One that has bubbled to the top is called the aerosol box. These boxes are used to provide additional protection to doctors and nurses when they perform endotracheal intubations (i.e. putting someone onto a respirator with corona virus). This box or shield was first created in Taiwan by Dr. Hsien Yung Lai.
A doctor friend of mine who oversees 30 emergency rooms in California told me that these were needed ASAP and that if we could mobilize Thalia to make these that we would save lives. So seeing a clear need and opportunity, we have redesigned the box so that it can be made very efficiently and cost effectively in the Thalia Studio using our six laser cutters. With this new design, I expect to be able to produce up to several hundred of these devices per day within a short period of time.
Here is our new upgraded design, which was redesigned with several improvements as well as modifications to enable high speed manufacturing. Special thanks to Gary Tamkin, MD, FACP, for his guidance in finalizing this upgraded design.
My hope is that we will accomplish several things with this initiative. One, we will save lives and do our part to support the brave women and men on the front lines of this war. Two, we will put our team back to work during the shutdown. Rest assured that we will build all of the amazing Thalia products that you have ordered to help us during this shutdown just as soon as the "shelter in place" order is lifted.
As one of the few USA manufacturing facilities left in our area with the equipment and skills necessary to aid the war effort I feel compelled to do our part. Please note that we do plan to take extra precautions to keep our team safe. We plan to do thorough daily cleanings of our studio and all studio staff will wear protective gear including masks and gloves.
As always, thank you for your support as we navigate these turbulent times.
I want to be as transparent as possible during this challenging time and give you some insight on how the corona virus is affecting us and our ability to serve our loyal customers. First, we are all healthy and none of our employees have had any symptoms or been tested for the virus.
However, we were given an order by our county authorities on March 12 to "shelter in place" and cease operations until April 8th (now extended until May 4.)