Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System
GCVHCS Acquires 3D Printers
BILOXI, Miss. – The Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System (GCVHCS) acquired two 3D printers, and is using this capability to manufacture personal protective equipment (PPE) for clinicians at the organization’s five facilities along the Gulf Coast.
The 3D printers, obtained through a partnership with GCVHCS joining the Veterans Health Administration’s (VHA) 3D Printing Network, an organization which has collaborated with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) 3D Print Exchange and America Makes, using their combined expertise in the medical and public health fields to test and validate newly developed 3D-printed personal protective equipment (PPE) products.
Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System Innovation Specialist Elizabeth Williams worked with the VHA Procurement and Logistics office and the VHA 3D Printing Network to obtain materials and supplies to print items. Williams, along with Biloxi VA Medical Center Registered Nurse Jeffrey Collins, printed hundreds of face shields and mask strap extensions, items GCVHCS clinicians can use when providing care to GCVHCS Veterans.
According to Williams, face shields consist of a piece of rigid, clear plastic attached to a plastic headband. The plastic piece covers the face, extending down to the chin. Face shields are worn by clinicians providing close contact care to patients and add additional protection from respiratory droplets when other means of close contact protection are not available.
Williams also said that mask strap extensions are used to pull elastic away from ears to adjust the fit and alleviate discomfort associated with extended wear time of face coverings.
Potential applications for the GCVHCS’ two 3D printers are being explored, Williams added.
The Biloxi Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center, along with the Mobile, Pensacola, Eglin and Panama City VA Clinics are all part of the GCVHCS, which is headquartered in Biloxi, Mississippi, and provides a variety of medical outpatient services to more than 70,000 Veterans.