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Susquehanna Life

California 3D printing company teams with Geisinger for PPE donation

May 21, 2020 02:44PM ● By Erica Shames

Face shields donated to Evangelical Community Hospital, St Luke’s University Hospital, La Casa Dominicana de Hazelton, Greater Susquehanna Health and EMS outreach services

When COVID-19 hit, the 3D Laboratory at Geisinger sprang into action, converting the equipment used to create models of patients’ organs, heart valves or other anatomy to make personal protective equipment (PPE) for caregivers.

Sarah Flora, program director of Geisinger’s 3D Lab, came up with a design for contactless door pulls but needed help in printing enough for the entire hospital. She found help through a from 3D printing conferences.

“When COVID-19 started to hit our area, Mara Hitner from MatterHackers reached out to see if they could help,” Flora said. “They found resources that could help us keep up with printing demands as well as with the contactless door handles.”

Hitner, director of business development at MatterHackers, found a volunteer group in Pittsburgh that wanted to help. They printed 100 door pulls for Geisinger. MatterHackers, based in Southern California, is one of the largest 3D printing retailers in the country. They have worked with Geisinger for years and have a second warehouse in York.

MatterHackers established a website for 3D printing volunteers and medical facilities to connect on needs and resources. The website employs 3D printers that have offered their equipment and skills to help fulfill PPE needs for frontline workers.

“We have more than 5,000 volunteers signed up to use their idle 3D printers to print face shields for hospitals in need,” Hitner said. “Through the Maker Response Hub, we have received requests from hospitals, police, fire departments, dental and optometry offices, and emergency vehicle services, just to name a few.” 

Hitner and Flora determined that Geisinger could use an additional 5,000 face shields that were ordered from the company and, in return, MatterHackers agreed to donate 5,000 face shields for facilities in Pennsylvania that might not be able to afford the cost.

With the proceeds from the sale, MatterHackers purchased filament for the volunteers, who have been using their own materials and money to develop PPE. MatterHackers then shipped the additional 5,000 face shields to facilities that Geisinger chose, including Evangelical Community Hospital in Lewisburg, St Luke’s University Hospital in Bethlehem, La Casa Dominicana de Hazleton, Greater Susquehanna Health and Geisinger EMS outreach services.

“MatterHackers has really helped us find resources to help with printing demands,” Flora said. “They’re a great company and have been helping a lot around the country.”

 “We are so very grateful to have been able to put our 3D printing community to work to help Geisinger through this crisis in whatever tiny way we could, and we truly appreciate your support of our volunteers,” Hitner said. “We look forward to continuing to work together as your internal 3D printing capacity grows, and as you find new ways to use it for patient care.” 

To make a donation in the fight against COVID-19, please visit geisinger.org/FightCovid or call 800-739-6882.

About Geisinger

Geisinger is committed to making better health easier for the more than 1.5 million consumers it serves. Founded more than 100 years ago by Abigail Geisinger, the system now includes 13 hospital campuses, a 600,000-member health plan, two research centers and the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine. With 32,000 employees and 1,800 employed physicians, Geisinger boosts its hometown economies in Pennsylvania and New Jersey by billions of dollars annually. Learn more at geisinger.org or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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