The “vestibule” or “anteroom” just outside the operating room at Abbotsford Regional Hospital creates a negative-pressure space to prevent the virus from spreading to nearby areas when COVID-19 patients are undergoing surgery.

B.C. doctor designs special operating room for COVID-19 patients

Design protects patients from wound infection while preventing virus from spreading to nearby areas

An Abbotsford Regional Hospital (ARH) doctor has designed a special operating room to ensure the safety of COVID-19 surgical patients and health-care workers.

Dr. Curt Smecher, an anesthesiologist at ARH, worked with the hospital’s maintenance engineers to develop the room, which has now been constructed at ARH, as well as at Surrey Memorial and Royal Columbian hospitals.

The actual physical structure of the anterooms was designed, supplied, installed and rented to the hospitals from a Langley-based company called EZEE Hoarding, but Smecher came up with the idea of combining negative-pressure and positive-pressure rooms in adjacent spaces.

Smecher said an operating room is normally a “positive pressure” room, which helps push germs away from the surgical field and helps to protect patients from wound infections.

But positive-pressure rooms can also push aerosolized coronavirus to the nearby areas outside of the operating room, risking infection to other patients and health-care staff, he said.

RELATED: ‘We’re the pioneers’: Canadian COVID-19 survivors share their stories

Smecher said negative-pressure rooms are preferred for infectious patients who are hospitalized, because the negative pressure isolates any airborne virus within that room. But a negative-pressure operating room would draw germs towards the patient during surgery, risking wound infections.

“By combining these two concepts – negative pressure and positive pressure – in adjacent spaces, we’ve been able to quickly design and build an operating room that prevents wound infections, while also preventing viral spread beyond the room,” he said.

Smecher said this is achieved by the creation of a negative-pressure vestibule (or “anteroom”) at one of the two exit doors of the special operating room, which still maintains positive-pressure inside.

He said the negative-pressure vestibule was constructed in just over 24 hours, with an estimated material cost of $20,000.

“We’re not keeping this a trade secret, or expecting anything in return for our information,” Smecher said. “In fact, to protect patients and health-care workers during this pandemic, we want to share our ideas with hospitals throughout British Columbia and across the world.”

Kyle Olinek of EZEE Hoarding said the company has elminated all rental extensions of its units to health-care facilities indefinitely until the COVID-19 pandemic is over.

RELATED: Canadians can’t relax yet despite progress in curbing COVID-19, officials say



newsroom@abbynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

CoronavirusHospitals

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Dr. Curt Smecher worked with maintenance engineers at Abbotsford Regional Hospital to develop a special operating room for COVID-19 surgical patients.

The back space of the “anteroom” shows how the ventilation system is attached to create negative pressure.

Just Posted

Comox Valley board of education approves facility spending plan

Projects include roofing, sewage system upgrade, gym resurfacing

Vancouver Island’s current COVID-19 case count officially hits zero

Of the 130 recorded Island Health cases, five people have died, 125 recovered

Valley artist gifts B.C.’s health officer with symbolic hummingbird

A special connection brought the piece to Dr. Bonnie Henry’s desk in Victoria

Black Lives Matter events planned for Courtenay

Peaceful gatherings are scheduled for Simms Park Friday and Saturday

Arnott taking medical leave as Comox mayor

Coun. Ken Grant will step in a mayor for time being

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Kelowna Mountie who punched suspect identified, condemned by sister

‘How did he get away with this? How is this justifiable?’

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park at large

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

No charges to be laid against 22 northern B.C. pipeline protesters

Twenty-two people were arrested in February, but Crown has decided not to pursue charges

Plan in place for BC Ferries to start increasing service levels

Ferry corporation reaches temporary service level agreement with province

B.C. starts to see employment return under COVID-19 rules

Jobless rate for young people still over 20% in May

Most Read