Carney Plastics Moves into Medical Field to Fight Virus

YOUNGSTOWN – A small plastics fabricator here has been tapped to make a device that protects doctors and nurses from COVID-19.

Carney Plastics, which usually makes display cases for model cars, has already made more than 100 intubation boxes for hospitals, including several in the Mahoning Valley. 

The clear acrylic boxes are used as a shield for medical personnel when they insert or remove breathing tubes in the mouths of patients. The boxes block virus-containing droplets from the patient’s mouth from spraying outward.

The box was designed by a Taiwanese doctor after it was discovered that doctors and nurses were being exposed to the virus during intubation procedures.

Sean Carney, president of Carney Plastics, said his company’s experience in making acrylic cases and industry connections made it a natural to manufacture intubation boxes.

The device is a 20” by 20” by 18” cube with one side open so that it can be placed over the patient’s face. Another side has two openings into which the doctor inserts his arms to complete the intubation procedure.

Carney Plastics, 1010 W. Rayen Ave., got started March 24, after receiving a call from Mercy Health St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital.

“By the end of the week, we had our first order of 50,” said Frank Kinik, director of facilities for the hospital. Another order of 60 arrived April 3.

Kinik said Mercy Health was aware of Carney Plastics’ products because the health-care system had ordered other products from the manufacturers in the past, such as brochure stands.

“We’re quite pleased with [Carney],” said Kinik. “We emailed then the specifications and websites on the product and he got us a quote and got started right away.”

Kinik said the boxes are being distributed between the St. Elizabeth Youngstown and Boardman hospital, St. Joseph Hospital in Warren and Mercy Health hospitals in Toledo and Lorain.

Kinik said he urged Carney to reach out to other area hospitals, and he did. Carney Plastics has already shipped intubation boxes to East Liverpool City Hospital and Salem Regional Medical Center, as well as a hospital in Rhode Island.

Ramping up to make the boxes only took a day or so, and it’s all that Carney is making right now.

“What they needed was something we were used to doing, and we have the capacity to make a lot,” Carney said. “[Mercy] told us our capacity is way beyond anyone else they had spoken to.”

His company can manufacture about 250 boxes per week. “We’re working ahead, so that we have them ready to ship when orders come in,” Carney said.

Carney Plastics also has been making “sneeze guards” – sheets of clear acrylic that hang between cashiers and customers for some local Sparkle Market grocery stores.

His company employs 10, half of which are laid off because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The two remaining production workers who are still employed are David Gordon and his son, Daniel Gordon, whom Carney said “know how to do everything.”

Pictured: Carney Plastics President John Carney has the company making acrylic shields to guard medical staff while intubating patients during the coronavirus outbreak.

Copyright 2020 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.