Medical Division at "Amron" can provide helmets "oxygen treatment hoods" to the hospitals
Updated: May 6
Vista, California 4/2/2020
As COVID-19 cases – and deaths – continue to go up in the United States, the search for needed ventilators continues to be a problem for medical facilities and makeshift hospitals.
An alternative to invasive ventilators – helmet based ventilation – already being used outside of the United States, is starting to get noticed in communities who are getting hit hard by the virus, according to Mike Malone of Amron International. The company, based out of Vista, Calif., was founded in 1978, manufacturing commercial diving equipment. The Amron oxygen treatment hood (another name for a helmet) was designed in 1998 and holds two patents, Malone said.
Based on recent research, Amron’s oxygen treatment hoods (helmets) could potentially be used in hospitals for COVID-19 patients. However, it was designed to be a hyperbaric product, Malone said.
“A lot of the hospitals are inquiring about the product and buying smaller quantities at first,” said Malone, vice-president of marketing for the company. “I think the hospitals are going through the process of approving the hoods for this application.”
The company has enough product to put out about 500 helmets within the next week or so, Malone said. The company is adding suppliers and tooling to meet the impending demand of devices over the next several weeks.
It is challenging to determine how, when, and where the virus will peak to reasonably meet the demand.
Due to the supply and the demand, the helmets will be shipped based on a first-come, first-served basis, Malone said. When a hospital calls and needs the helmets, Amron could potentially supply the product.
Amron has supplied helmets to Australia, Italy, Germany, and Hungary, with inquiries from other countries including the Netherlands and UK.
“A lot of our (worldwide) dealers are calling us,” Malone said.
Malone said the company is investing a sizable sum into added tooling to manufacture helmets – he estimated that the helmets cost about $150.
“We’re juggling a lot – we’re juggling customer calls, safety protocols for our production team … everything -- trying to get this thing going,” Malone said regarding the impact of the virus on the company and the country.
“We’re going off the doctor’s recommendation, and people who have grabbed the hood have spoken very highly of the hood,” Malone said, talking about a video from Tom Fox.
Fox is the Research Physiologist for the Hyperbaric Institute for Research and Training, a division of Island Hyperbaric Centre in Pincourt, Quebec, Canada. He used one of the Amron helmet based ventilators to show the uses of the product for COVID-19 patients.
“(Fox is) very passionate about this prospective use,” Malone said.
As the virus is unprecedented, Amron International hopes to be able to contribute to help patients recover from COVID-19.
“We are getting a lot of inquiries from Central and South America, as well,” Malone said. “They are also calling me believing they’re going to need our hoods in the very near future. Hospitals don’t have enough respirators … period.”