NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Twenty years ago, Dr. Maureen Cernadas helped deliver Calista Kleintop at Saint Peter's University Hospital.
Kleintop, now a junior at Virginia Tech and majoring in material science and engineering, is using recyclable material provided by Cernadas to create surgical-grade masks.
As part of her senior design project, Kleintop was researching alternatives for the material currently used for N-95 surgical masks, which are in short supply.
Her research uncovered documentation from a University of Florida anesthesiologist, showing that Halyard H600 fabric, a material used to wrap and sterilize surgical instrument trays and discarded in virtually every operating room across the county, could provide the closest thing to N-95 protection.
While not FDA approved, the material is thought to be superior to the common surgical mask in its ability to block aerosols and droplets, including water, bacteria and other particles.
Kleintop wanted to give back to the place she was born and that’s when the family’s friend, Cernadas, who still works at Saint Peter's University Hospital, helped make that happen.
Cernadas ships boxes of the discarded fabric to Kleintop, who has sewn them into masks.
Kleintop has donated more than 300 masks to Saint Peter’s.
Although the hospital does not have a shortage of personal protection equipment, these masks could serve as an alternative safety measure if it’s determined they meet safety guidelines.