via Reddit

One of the biggest issues in treating those affected by COVID-19 is a lack of medical equipment. Italy, the country second hardest-hit by the pandemic, has faced shortages in equipment and hospital beds.

This puts doctors in the terrible position of having to decide who gets treatment and who does not.

One of the most important tools in the fight against COVID-19 are ventilators.


"A ventilator is a fairly fancy piece of technological equipment which is designed to breathe for somebody who is unable to breathe effectively on their own," David Hill, a pulmonologist who sits on the board of the American Lung Association, said according to PBS.

In severe cases of COVID-19, a patient's lungs become inflamed and filled with fluid which makes it difficult for them to breathe and oxygenate their blood.

A ventilator could mean the difference between life and death.

Due to the shortage of ventilator masks in northern Italy, a doctor reached out to Cristian Fracassi and Alessandro Romaioli, engineers at Isinnova, a 3-D printing company, with the idea of making masks out of scuba equipment.

In just three hours, the engineers created a prototype for a 3-D printed valve that successfully converts the scuba gear into a ventilator mask.

"We had never made valves before, but we wanted to help," they said according to The Independent.

The engineers then reached out to French sporting goods retailer Decathlon to see if they could use the Subea Easybreath snorkeling mask for the project. The company was "immediately willing to cooperate."

The first fully-working prototype was tested at the Chiari Hospital and proven to be effective. After the successful test, the engineers printed 100 more valves.

The engineers quickly patented the valve, but then made the 3-D printing files free so anyone with a printer can produce them during the crisis. "We clarify that our initiative is totally non-profit, we will not obtain any royalties on the idea of the link, nor on the sales of Decathlon masks," the engineers said.

The valves cost about a dollar to make according to The Independent.

via Cristian Fracassi / YouTube

While the engineers are proud of their success in creating the ventilator masks, they stress they are just a stop-gap solution.

"We are reiterating that the idea is designed for healthcare facilities and wants to help in realization of an emergency mask in the case of a full-blown difficult situation, where is not possible to in find official healthcare supplies," the engineers said.

Neither the mask nor the link are certified and their use is subject to a situation of mandatory need," they continued. "Usage by the patient is subjected to the acceptance of use of an uncertified biomedical device, by providing a signed declaration."

The engineers at Isinnova are a fantastic example of the powerful ways that out-of-the-box thinking combined with partnerships between healthcare and outside industries can help us get through the pandemic.

Photo from Dole
True

As you sit down to eat your breakfast in the morning or grab an afternoon snack, take a minute to consider your food, how it was made, and how it got to your plate.

The fruit on your plate were grown and picked on farms, then processed, packaged and sent to the grocery store where you bought them.

Sounds simple, right?

The truth is, that process is anything but simple and at every step in the journey to your plate, harm can be caused to the people who grow it, the communities that need it, and the planet we all call home.

For example, thousands of kids live in food deserts and areas where access to affordable and nutritious food is limited. Around the world, one in three children suffer from some form of malnutrition, and yet, up to 40% of food in the United States is never eaten.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Mahir Uysal on Unsplash

Two years ago, I got off the phone after an interview and cried my eyes out. I'd just spent an hour talking to Tim Ballard, the founder of Operation Underground Railroad, an organization that helps fight child sex trafficking, and I just couldn't take it.

Ballard told me about how the training to go undercover as a child predator nearly broke him. He told me an eerie story of a trafficker who could totally compartmentalize, showing Ballard photos of kids he had for sale, then switching gears to proudly show him a photo of his own daughter on her bicycle, just as any parent would. He told me about how lucrative child trafficking is—how a child can bring in three or four times as much as a female prostitute—and how Americans are the industry's biggest consumers.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo from Dole
True

As you sit down to eat your breakfast in the morning or grab an afternoon snack, take a minute to consider your food, how it was made, and how it got to your plate.

The fruit on your plate were grown and picked on farms, then processed, packaged and sent to the grocery store where you bought them.

Sounds simple, right?

The truth is, that process is anything but simple and at every step in the journey to your plate, harm can be caused to the people who grow it, the communities that need it, and the planet we all call home.

For example, thousands of kids live in food deserts and areas where access to affordable and nutritious food is limited. Around the world, one in three children suffer from some form of malnutrition, and yet, up to 40% of food in the United States is never eaten.

Keep Reading Show less

I saw this poster today and I was going to just let it go, but then I kept feeling tugged to say something.

Melanie Cholish/Facebook

While this poster is great to bring attention to the issue of child trafficking, it is a "shocking" picture of a young girl tied up. It has that dark gritty feeling. I picture her in a basement tied to a dripping pipe.

While that sounds awful, it's important to know that trafficking children in the US is not all of that. I can't say it never is—I don't know. What I do know is most young trafficked children aren't sitting in a basement tied up. They have families, and someone—usually in their family—is trafficking them.

Keep Reading Show less

Most women, at one point or another, have felt some wariness or fear over a strange man in public. Sometimes it's overt, sometimes it's subtle, but when your instincts tell you something isn't right and you're potentially in danger, you listen.

It's an unfortunate reality, but reality nonetheless.

A Twitter thread starting with some advice on helping women out is highlighting how real this is for many of us. User @mxrixm_nk wrote: "If a girl suddenly acts as if she knows you in public and acts like you're friends, go along w[ith] it. She could be in danger."

Other women chimed in with their own personal stories of either being the girl approaching a stranger or being the stranger approached by a girl to fend off a situation with a creepy dude.

Keep Reading Show less