A senior consultant at Glangwili Hospital Carmarthen and an Ammanford company have designed a device to help hospitalised Covid-19 patients breathe.
Dr Rhys Thomas, a consultant anaesthetist, devised the machine based on his extensive military and civilian experience in anaesthetics and resuscitation and advice from courageous doctors fighting Covid-19 in Bergamo, Italy.
After concerns about the lack of intensive care unit ventilators to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic, Dr Thomas was approached by Plaid Cymru Leader Adam Price to come up with a “simpler but potentially as effective device” that could be mass produced to meet the demand.
The CPAP machine was successfully used to treat a Covid-19 patient in Llanelli on Saturday evening and the patient is now “recovering well”.
The machine can also “clean the room of viral particles” and supply only purified air to the Covid-19 patient. This enables the patient to “self-care” and releases specialist nurses for other duties.
Plaid Cymru Leader Adam Price praised all those involved in producing the life-saving device which places Wales on the front foot in the battle against Covid-19.
The Plaid Cymru Leader and Assembly Member for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr said the production of the device was “an outstanding example of co-operation at its best”. Mr Price said it showed Wales as a nation that “can get things done quickly as we face the biggest challenge of our generation.”
Jonathan Edwards MP for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr added that it was an example of “what we can achieve as a nation” with “swift political leadership”.
The device, termed a Covid Emergency Ventilator, has been given the go-ahead by Welsh Government. A hundred of these ventilators can be made every day to save a huge number of lives.
Consultant anaesthetist Dr Rhys Thomas said,
“I was desperately concerned about the lack of intensive care unit (ICU) ventilators to deal with the inevitable pandemic.
“A week ago, Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price challenged me to come up with a simpler but potentially as effective device, and put me in touch with Maurice Clark of CR Clark Betws, Ammanford – an engineering company specialising in Thermoforming and Plastic Fabrication equipment.
“After designing, constructing and trialling several prototypes in just three days, we came up with a device that worked perfectly. It is simple and robust and specifically designed to work against Covid virus in a contagious environment.
“Although it won’t replace an ICU ventilator, the majority of patients won’t need intensive care if they are treated with this ventilator first, releasing ICU ventilators for more serious Covid-19 cases and other general medical cases.
“The machine has other benefits in that it will clean the room of viral particles and only supply purified air to the patient. The patient can self-care as specialist nurses are not required releasing them for other duties.”
“On Saturday evening we used the CPAP to treat a Covid-19 patient. It was a successful trial and I’m delighted to say that the patient is recovering well.”
Plaid Cymru Leader and Assembly Member for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr Adam Price said,
“This has been a truly amazing achievement. I cannot praise too highly Dr Rhys Thomas for his skill, his dedicated staff at Glangwili hospital who tested the device, as well as CR Clark & Co for responding so swiftly. It’s fantastic that we have such brilliant expertise in Carmarthenshire to create and deliver this new device in volume at such short notice.
“I also commend the Welsh Government for its confidence in Dr Rhys’ ability by giving his life-saving device the immediate go-ahead for production.
“This is an outstanding example of co-operation at its best. It shows that Wales, as a small nation, can get things done quickly as we face the biggest challenge of our generation.
Jonathan Edwards MP for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr added,
“This shows what we can achieve as a nation with swift political leadership.
“When this crisis is over let us hope that Ammanford, Carmarthenshire and Wales will get a notable mention on how people got together to meet the challenges of the biggest challenge faced by humankind for a century.”