Angel Flight transports TTU’s 3D printed medical supplies to rural hospitals

Updated: Mar. 30, 2020 at 7:31 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - In an effort to serve the rural hospitals across the region, Texas Tech University and Texas Tech Health Sciences Center students, faculty and staff are teaming up with pilots who are volunteering to transport their 3D printed medical supplies.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 began, TTU and TTUHSC have collaborated to research and produce face shields, N95 masks, ventilator adapters and more. Engineering and Honors College faculty and staff jumped in to begin production with the help of other departments, colleges and local businesses that had printers and supplies. The production of face shields and ventilator splitters has been successful.

“When issues arise and something comes up, then it takes people in the community to stand up and do their part for change to happen,” Honors College staff member Douglas Guberman said.

The products are designed to help medical personnel as they fight COVID-19, whether that’s to protect them and preserve their protective equipment or serve more patients on ventilators.

Items have been donated to Lubbock hospitals. Now, they are reaching out to rural hospitals that may have an even tougher time acquiring protective equipment and other needed supplies.

To deliver the supplies, Guberman enlisted the help of a fellow Air Force veteran, Scott Gloyna, a volunteer for the Angel Flight South Central nonprofit program. Angel Flights provide transportation for patients in need of treatments at distant hospitals.

“When you have a patient on board, you are very concerned with their comfort, their safety,” Gloyna said. “I always try to find the smoothest air I can and try to land as easy as I can, as little time taxiing as I can and try to get them from home to their place they get their treatment as quickly as I can, as safely as I can. With masks and stuff, it’s a little different. I’m not so concerned about the passenger in the back but the cargo is just as vital.”

Gloyna joined Bryan Rose, owner of Rose-Text and fellow pilot, in the first trip. It was to Monahans’ Ward County Memorial Hospital. Supplies would be delivered there and to a hospital in Pecos.

“We’re so blessed in this community that we live in out here on the High Plains and the way people are here so willing to help each other,” Rose said. “This is just our opportunity to give back. So, as soon as Scott called me I was like, ‘yeah, let’s do it.’”

Research continues into design and production of more supplies, like N95 masks. Guberman tells KCBD they are working to increase production and are also reaching out to as many hospitals as possible. But, they need your help.

“If there are people in your community that could help now, then this issue we are dealing with, COVID-19, we can’t wait,” Guberman said. “If you are able to help, you should. We could always use more people to help, anyone with 3D printers that can help, contact us and we would be happy to take their assistance. To me, it’s just everyone stepping up and doing their part, something that everyone should do if you’re able to.”

To make a donation to TTU Health Sciences Center for materials to produce face shields, ventilators, ventilator splitters, face masks and respirators, click here. Then, select “3D Printing COVID-19 Relief.”

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