FIU Using 3D Printing to Make Face Shields for Healthcare Workers at Baptist Health
By Peter B. Laird
Florida International University and Baptist Health South Florida are partnering on an initiative to manufacture face shields for healthcare workers on the front lines of the coronavirus crisis.
Students, faculty and staff at FIU’s College of Communications, Architecture + The Arts (CARTA) are using close to three dozen 3D printers to print as many as 1,000 face shields made from non-toxic PLA (polylactic acid) that will help protect Baptist Health medical staff when caring for patients who have or are suspected to have COVID-19.
Baptist Health, with 11 hospitals in South Florida, is seeing a sharp increase in the number of patients presenting with COVID-19 symptoms. Healthcare workers across the country are facing shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as face masks and gloves. The reusable face shields being printed at FIU not only offer enhanced protection from transmission of the virus but also extend the usable life of face masks until larger quantities can be sourced.
“Out of adversity creates opportunity,” said Barry T. Katzen, M.D., founder and medical director of Miami Cardiac & Vascular Institute, who has long been a leader in innovation at Baptist Health. “This partnership with FIU is community collaboration at its best, bringing together an academic institution and a healthcare system by using innovation during a time of urgent need.”