STUDENT ENGINEER OF THE YEAR
Novel Design for Tracheostomy – University of Canterbury
Francis Pooke, a Mechanical Engineering student at the University of Canterbury, navigated medical device design challenges with exceptional ease developing an elegant solution and potentially life-saving device.
From car crashes to the battlefield, securing a viable airway after a major injury is critical to patient survival. Tracheostomies are the best choice for bypassing severely compromised airways to insert a breathing tube. But they’re rarely performed – because of the procedure's high complication rate.
Reinventing tracheostomies to significantly decrease complexity and risk could transform apprehensive doctors and paramedics into experts with minimal training.
Francis Pooke has achieved this through innovative design, significant iteration, clinical consultation, and extensive testing, successfully delivering a highly simplified tracheostomy device and procedure.
In a direct comparison with a standard clinical kit, the time to perform a tracheostomy was reduced by over 50%, enabled by a reduction in parts from 12 to 7 and an avoidance of successive insertion and removal of standard kit components.
The scope of impact for this design is huge. A simpler, intuitive design will transform responders into confident and prepared experts, able to perform life-saving care without hesitation.