When Paula Dickson got a message from a senior leader asking if her Kaiser Permanente carpenters could fabricate and produce a face shield to protect Northern California clinicians on the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic, she didn’t hesitate.
Supplies of the critically important piece of protective gear were running low and hard to find on the market. Her 16 Berkeley-based carpenters were used to making all kinds of furniture and cabinetry in hospitals and medical offices across the region, so the director of Capital Projects, Facilities and Construction, thought “why not face shields?”
“When I got the message, I talked to my shop supervisor, Adrian Robles, and told him what we needed,” Dickson said. “Three times he said, ‘What did you say?’ He was off work, but in an hour, he had bought the supplies, made one, and showed me a prototype.”
A couple of days later 2 versions, 1 developed by Robles and 1 developed by Area Construction Manager Ed Walera, were brought to the command center and approved by a nurse and a physician.
In the first 2 weeks, the Berkeley carpenters and others they trained delivered 11,800 face shields that went into immediate use. Now teams of 4 to 8 are developing their own in each of Kaiser Permanente’s 15 service areas.