How a Florida hospital used a 3D printer to combat PPE shortages

A small 3D printer helped Sarasota (Fla.) Memorial Hospital overcome supply shortages during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when it couldn't get a critical piece of personal protective equipment needed to protect its healthcare workers, ABC Action News reported. 

The hospital used CAPR helmets, an air-purifying respirator, to protect its healthcare workers against contracting and spreading COVID-19 while treating patients. But when a critical piece of the helmets needed to be replaced, the hospital couldn't get any due to a supply shortage. 

"We would've paid anything to get them, but they were just unavailable," Robert Santos, director of the hospital's biomedical engineering and technology assessment department, told ABC Action News

The biomedical engineering team purchased a small 3D printer for $1,000 and began making the replacement part themselves. The team recently purchased a larger 3D printer and can now make more than a dozen items with the printer, which helps the hospital avoid supply shortages and save money, ABC Action News reported. 

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