UMES Pharmacy School Prints Critical Face Shield Supplies for Coastal Hospice
A 3D printer the University of Maryland Eastern Shore’s Pharmacy School usually used to manufacture nasal spray bottles has instead been cranking out critical parts to create face shields. The first batch of 50 adjustable headbands produced by Dr. Richard De Benedetto was donated to Coastal Hospice.
De Benedetto said he was motivated professionally and personally to support front-line healthcare givers. His wife, Suzannah, is a spiritual consultant who counsels patients and works alongside hospice staffers. “I thought maybe there was something a little extra I could possibly do to keep her and her colleagues safe,” he said.
De Benedetto did some online research and found a template he adapted to the 3D printer. The 8½-by-11-inch clear plastic is the same material used for covers of hard copy reports commonly used by commercial printers.
Alane Capen, Coastal Hospice’s president, was unaware the donation was in the works when De Benedetto and faculty colleagues Rondall Allen and Sean Vasaitis showed up recently to make the presentation. Capen called the donation “Joyous. It affords us to be better prepared if this pandemic worsens in our community.”
De Benedetto estimated each ready-to-wear face shield was produced with no more than a dollar’s worth of material. Each headband takes about two hours to create.
Capen said the face shields wear out quickly because constantly sanitizing them eventually makes the plastic cloudy like headlights on old automobiles. “There’s definitely a need and we appreciate this effort greatly,” she said.