by Dr. Anne McIntosh – Safe’N’Clear, Inc. Founder & CEO.
Our family started with the birth of their daughter. On a Friday evening, my amniotic sac broke; my husband and I checked into a large hospital in Charlotte expecting a normal delivery after a non-eventful 9-month pregnancy with regular prenatal visits. After more than 25 hours of labor, I was well-aware that my risk factors for infection were now increased. I informed the nurse on duty that my water broke more than 25 hours ago (the staff work on 8-hour shifts). The nurse notified the attending OB/GYN physician and the doctor determined a C-section was needed. I was taken to the OR and prepped for C-section. All personnel in the OR were garbed in surgical scrubs from head to toe, including facemasks — I could no longer read their lips and understand what they were saying to each other or to me. A white drape was placed between the OB/GYN and me so I could see nothing and could not piece together what was happening. On top of being tired, hungry, excited, and anxious, I had a hard time following verbal requests from health providers because I could not read their lips. Yes, my husband was there but he, too, was garbed in surgical scrubs and a face mask. In order to deal with what was going on and to keep my own sanity and blood pressure within reason, I made the executive decision to “shut down” and turned all decision-making and answering questions tasks to my husband in hopes that between him and the medical providers, they had the information they needed and everything would turn out all right. In a matter of minutes, I went from being a “doctor with a PhD who could communicate and articulate well” to a numbed, tired, fatigued patient who was counting on mercies and miracles all the way. Prayers were answered. All ended well… but I recognized how close this childbirth came to possibly not having a happy ending. Realizing that many people with hearing loss have experienced similar frightening situations or may face such a situation, I knew there was a better way and I had to find a solution. I spoke with my brother, an attorney, and described the situation (minus a few childbirth details) and told him how the problem could be resolved with a TRANSPARENT mask. And, here we are… an FDA approved ASTM-Level 1 surgical face mask with a clear window manufactured in the USA.
Safe’N’Clear, Inc. is pleased to announce RSS Medical Distributors (RSS) as an official distributor of the Communicator™ Clear Window Surgical Mask.
RSS specializes in niche healthcare product sales to military hospitals and VA facilities around the U.S. and abroad. RSS is acutely aware of the needs of active military service men and women and veterans, citing hearing loss as a huge component of their ability to understand their healthcare providers and treatment regimens. Many men and women in service are “hands-on” people who like to see the action; they tend to be visual learners, doers, and listeners so they will want to see their healthcare and dental care providers’ faces when interacting during appointments.
RSS is also aware of the need to minimize noise in the operating room. A report published by The Joint Commission on August 14, 2017 found that too much noise in the operating room can distract surgeons and increase the risk for medical errors. With so much noise in the O.R., surgeons and operating room staff often find themselves having to speak louder than normal in order to communicate with each other. Knowing that this is an active concern at the VA, RSS and the Department of Veteran Affairs are currently collaborating to create solutions to help reduce noise in the O.R. RSS plans to utilize the Safe’N’Clear Communicator™, with its clear communication window, to help providers reduce the need for elevated voice levels while communicating during a surgery case by having the ability to visually see what members of the surgical team are trying to communicate, therefore helping increase overall communication and decrease additional noise levels in the operating room.
RSS Medical Distributors is a certified minority-owned, small-disadvantaged business. For more information about RSS and other products they carry, contact Quedon Baul directly.
How a new face mask is changing the face of health care
Simple idea could make big difference
Video by Isaac Blancas. Originally posted here by Kumasi Aaron, Scripps Media.
DENVER — It’s easy to take things for granted, like being able to talk with your doctor when you need to. But what if you couldn’t? Sometimes the simplest of ideas can make the biggest of differences.
Tim Tyler said he had to learn to cope with losing his hearing after serving in World War II. “I had ringing in my ears,” Tyler said. “And gradually it got worse or worse over the years.” He got hearing aids, and learned to read lips. “It was very helpful,” Tyler said. “You use it unconsciously when you look at people. I can hear a lot better than if I go this way.” So when Tyler ended up at Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center battling pneumonia, his doctors wearing traditional face masks made communication a challenge.
So they traded those masks for one with a clear opening at the mouth. It was an idea the hospital got from one of its bedside nurses, Cindy Schauer. She was struggling to communicate with a patient’s mother, who is hearing impaired.”Throughout the day I would have to step out the room take my mask down,” Schauer said. “Then foam in foam out, do all the sanitary things to get back in isolation. And after 12 hours I was frustrated for the mom. Because I’m like other people might not really try to let them read their lips. Plus it took a lot longer.” Schauer talked with her daughter, who is hearing impaired, and learned about a clear face mask called “The Communicator.”
“Necessity is the mother of all invention,” said Dr. Anne McIntosh, who developed The Communicator. McIntosh is also hearing impaired and relies heavily on reading lips to communicate. While in the hospital for more than 24 hours giving birth to her daughter, she was unable to understand her doctors and nurses who were all wearing traditional masks. “I just remember the fear that came over me during that encounter,” Dr. McIntosh said. “And it was so preventable had simply been able to follow the conversation.” She wanted to do something about it and came up with an idea; a face mask with a clear window. “It’s the little things in life that make a difference though right?” Dr. McIntosh said.
Now, The Communicator is the first FDA approved medical mask of its kind; one Dr. McIntosh believes can change the face of health care. “The better I can understand what you’re saying to me the better I can respond so that you can help me,” Dr. McIntosh said. “I need to be able to help you so that you as a health care or dental provider can assist me.” “It’s a great invention,” Tyler said. “Why somebody didn’t think about it before. I don’t know. But I figured it’s a great thing.”
A simple solution, clearing the way for something often taken for granted.
Thanks to everyone at Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center and especially Cindy Schauer for her support!
If your hospital or practice would like to try out The Communicator and improve communication with patients, contact us Sales@safenclear.com.