A Tulsa doctor made this new device to protect health care workers

Local doctor creates equipment to protect medical workers

TULSA, Okla. — A Tulsa ophthalmologist who created an aerosol containment device to help protect health care workers.

Dr. Ben Pettigrove told FOX23 his son-in-law and some of his best friends are anesthesiologists and he worried that they were at high risk of contracting the coronavirus.

Pettigrove designed an aerosol containment box to protect health care workers during intubation.

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A Tulsa doctor created a device to protect health care workers.
A Tulsa doctor created a device to protect health care workers. (FOX23)

He says he had free time after the state put a stop to the performance of elective procedures on March 18.

Pettigrove talked with anesthesiologists, drew up plans, asked two friends for help, and built the first device April 19.

He came up with a prototype for the device, using an extra-strong kitchen trash bag, and a standard disposable bag found in most operating rooms, along with plastic pieces.

Doctors can insert a vacuum tube to create negative pressure and the plastic seals around the doctor’s gloves -- containing the virus inside the box.

WATCH: Tulsa doctor demos aerosol containment device for health care workers

Pettigrove says local plastic fabrication shops are swamped with orders to create shields for checkout counters, so obtaining supplies to create more boxes is a challenge, but he is sharing the prototype design with other health care providers at no cost.

He says doctors can modify the plans and create boxes that are taller or wider, or better suit them

Three more boxes are being created, and Pettigrove plans to donate them to Tulsa hospitals.

FOX23′s Michelle Linn talked with a Tulsa anesthesiologist who says he thinks it’s a great design.

Dr. Charles Stewart says he used the box last week during tonsillectomies and it worked well.