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American medical engineer in Vietnam

Thu, 18 Sep 2014 . Last updated Thu, 25 Jun 2015 08:49

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Kirk Evans, an American medical engineer who invented CPAP in Vietnam. During 13 years living here, he has devoted lots of patents on medical devices for the hospitals and he intends to contribute more to the modernization of the health sector in Vietnam.

Kirk Evans is an American medical engineer, left 15-year career in high tech research to develop medical technology for people who need it the most. He came to Vietnam in 2001 and has spent 13 years devising Vietnam medical equipment for the country’s neonatal units. Saving thousands premature infants in a process. From one career path to his new one in Vietnam, he now enjoys scientific and technological progress that can help people.

CPAP is a ventilator for newborns. And it provides just gentle pressure to help the babies breathe but it’s naturally safe. Essentially, the number one problem or the most common problem for babies is their lungs are not fully developed and they are missing out product help surfactant and so their livers in fact inside too long to make up the total on are actually collapse. The way what happens if the collapsed a stick together, so if provide a little bit of pressure and keep it open then the baby can breathe if you let it go to zero a stick and the baby can’t breathe.  So this allows it to open and the baby can breathe after a few days. It is different from the other expensive ventilators. Those machines push, open and create the sound and sometimes, that machine will push at the wrong time, or cause more trauma services been found. CPAP is recognized around the world that this is the best way and let the baby absolutely needs to be have support with the machine. That’s why CPAP is advised to be about 80% of the cases.

The first CPAP were literally made of plastic milk bottles and the heater here with nothing more than halogen bulbs. And then it was just plastic bottles with tubes. They were just sitting inside the baby’s bed. So that it is the first CPAP we made. And then of course from there, we realized we need to make things that were simpler for nurses. These have fittings for you can take, disconnect and put back. This spinning only goes in this hole where sometimes people can get confused, so essentially we made it more real product.

The special Kirk’s design is that they are manufactured in Vietnam from simple things around him such as milk bottles. His CPAP machine only costs about $ 1,000 in Vietnam, while the same machines usually cost $ 7000 or more in industrialized world. Kirk first expected he would complete CPAP version in 6 months but it actually took in four years to finish.

Kirk started his journey in Vietnam by volunteering at the National Hospital of Pediatrics. For 4 years, he worked with nurses and learnt how to look after babies. Kirk’s CPAP machine has made a huge difference at a hospital. The mortality rate of the premature babies in the first 24 hours has been brought down from about 40% ten years ago to only 7% now. Respiratory distress is no longer a worry for the doctors and nurses here. Besides designing machine, Kirk also puts a lot of efforts into finding donors to support his invention providing thousand ventilators to neonatal units across Vietnam and even to neighboring countries such as Laos, Cambodia. With his creations he hope to give an increasingly modern thing to help the health sector in Vietnam, but more importantly to give these babies hope and another chance to live.

 

Source: VTV4 – VTV.vn

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