London Free Press: Western University researcher designs mobile medical module to screen COVID-19 patients

It took just two weeks for Western doctoral student and power grid specialist Ramtin Rasoulinezhad, an intern at Hamilton’s AVL Manufacturing, to show his bosses how to go from producing enclosures for power generators to making life-saving, mobile medical units where patients can be triaged outside a hospital.

From the outside, the units, which vary in price but average about $100,000, look like a freight shipping container.

Inside, they’re designed to allow medical staff to screen patients for COVID-19 before they enter hospital,  They’re insulated, have their own power source and can be equipped with ventilators and beds.

They also offer built-in climate control, air filtration and contamination-preventing negative pressure systems.

“After the COVID virus, we felt we should help our front-line doctors and nurses,” Rasoulinezhad said.

Unlike temporary tents being used in the COVID-19 crisis by some hospitals, the “fully functional” mobile modules can be deployed within minutes. They could even be transformed into mortuaries if needed, Rasoulinezhad said.

When no longer needed for the fallout of the coronavirus, the units could be “repurposed,” to supply electrical energy to remote places such as some Indigenous settlements, for example.

Rasoulinezhad, whose internship was supported by $90,000 from Mitacs, a non-profit national research organization, came up with the idea for the mobile units as the virus crisis deepened about a month ago.

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