​Seoul hospital adopts 'glove wall system' to protect medical staff

Park Sae-jin Reporter() | Posted : March 16, 2020, 12:04 | Updated : March 16, 2020, 12:12

[Courtesy of Boramae Medical Center]

SEOUL -- In an effort to save time taken for the screening of the novel coronavirus (COVID), a Seoul hospital has adopted a "glove-wall" system that allows doctors to examine people from the other side of a protective wall using hand holes with special protective extensions.

Boramae Medical Center operated by the Seoul National University is the first to adopt the glove wall system, which now spreads to other hospitals, community health centers and virus screening centers in Seoul.

"The system not only prevents additional infection of patients and medical staff but also reduces the usage of level-D anti-contamination gear so that it can be used only where it is needed," Park Sang-won, an infectious disease professor at Boramae Medical Center, said, adding the system can be reused as soon as it goes through a simple sterilization process.

The glove wall system consists of a box-shaped room with a clear acrylic wall with a pair of hand holes. The isolated test rooms are similar to a baby incubator but the hand holes have special oversleeves extended outwards so that medical staff can test people by swabbing the upper respiratory system and throat without exposing themselves. The inside of the protective wall maintains negative pressure to reduce the chance of cross-contamination.

Currently, doctors and nurses who treat and test patients infected with COVID-19 wear level-D anti-contamination suits including jumpsuit-like overalls, protective goggles, multiple layers of latex gloves and masks. Medical officials are required to put on new anti-contamination suits every time they are exposed.

Changing to another suit requires a time-consuming process. Doctors and nurses are fatigued by just wearing the suit because it gets really hard to breathe and the inside gets warm because of body temperature.
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