News / USA

Hospital Machinist Aids Medical Research

Hospital Machinist Aids Medical Researchi
X
February 21, 2014 1:41 AM
Many people who would have died from common ailments a few decades back are alive today thanks to advances in medical technology, including devices created by researchers in laboratories. But getting from a design sketch to an actual approved product can take years. VOA correspondent Greg Flakus reports from the Texas Medical Center in Houston.
Greg Flakus
Many people who would have died from common ailments a few decades back are alive today thanks to advances in medical technology, including devices created by researchers in laboratories.  But getting from a design sketch to an actual approved product can take years. 

His coworkers are lathes and drills rather than doctors, nurses and medical technicians, but Juan Fernandez is a highly regarded collaborator at Houston Methodist Hospital.

He made this valve for operating room technicians who wanted a better way to monitor oxygen flow.

"The oxygen goes in and out this way and the sensor will tell how much oxygen is going to the patient," said Fernandez.

These kind of innovations are sometimes so successful, the companies manufacturing the equipment sometimes incorporate them into new designs.

Biomedical engineer Matthew Jackson worked with Fernandez to develop parts for this cardiovascular simulator.

"The payoff of having the machine shop here is that you can create unique solutions to problems in a simple way, where you are just removing and adding material to create something," said Jackson.

Juan Fernandez, who has worked worked more than 25 years here in Houston's Texas Medical Center, says that experience pays off when someone shows him a sketch for a part they want made.

"On paper you can make anything, but once you try to make it into a part, it is hard," he said.

Fernandez produced many of the parts for this cardiovascular simulator.

It uses a plastic reproduction of a patient's aorta to test blood flow.

Matthew Jackson says he needed a device made of plastic, rather than metal, because it has to be inserted into the highly magnetic ring of an MRI machine.

"This is something Juan created for us and it helped with a lot of the initial work we were doing on this project.  You sandwich that valve between the two, the left side acts as the ventricle and this side acts as the atrium and you can put this in the MRI magnet because it is all made out of plastic," he said.

Some of the earliest advances in treating heart disease were made here in Houston by Dr. Michael DeBakey, who, in 1991, called on Juan Fernandez to make the prototype for a ventricular assist device.

For Fernandez this was personal.  He was just 10-years-old when his father died in front of him.

"He started snoring and I thought he was playing with me and I called my mom and they called the paramedics, but he was gone.  The doctor said it was a heart attack," said Fernandez.

The researchers who design new devices gain prestige and money from patents, and the doctors who use them gain status in the medical community.

Juan Fernandez shuns attention and prefers to work alone.

"I know deep down that I helped mankind and that is all that matters to me," he said.

Juan Fernandez is now 65 and could retire.  But he continues to work and and do his part for medical science.

You May Like

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infectionsi
X
November 28, 2014 3:31 PM
South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infections

South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.

All About America

AppleAndroid