South Jersey family keeps hospital workers safe with 'intubation boxes'

CHERRY HILL, New Jersey (WPVI) -- The pandemic crisis has unleashed an incredible flood of creativity and innovation.

A South Jersey artist and his grandson are doing their part to help those on the front lines. They are helping keep workers safe at hospitals from Massachusetts to Florida to Oklahoma.

And it's with something they assemble in about 10 minutes - intubation boxes.

The Plexiglas boxes limit exposure to airborne droplets when patients are going onto or off ventilators.

David Ascalon has won awards for his sculpture and stained glass art.

When the pandemic hit, his studio had to shut down.

On hearing that a friend at Pearlman Designs in Voorhees, New Jersey, who was making the boxes for East Coast hospitals, offered his studio to make them.

"He was using his house, but why use that, when I had an empty studio?" Ascalon told us.

Zaiden Ascalon, 17, a high school senior, jumped in to help his grandfather.

"I begged my parents to let me go in," he said. "I wanted to help fight this invisible enemy by saving, like, as many people as I could."

He likened the pandemic to World War II.

"During World War II, they converted their factories, grew their own food, did everything they could to help out," Zaiden Ascalon said.

They improved on a similar box used overseas - oval-shaped arm openings make it easier for workers.

"With the oval holes, I can move all around, tend to a patient," he said.

And the team crowd-sourced materials, with donations from Lowe's and local hardware stores.

When Virtua Health's innovation chief saw a box, he wanted some right away.

"Necessity breeds innovation. And, you know, these times are really calling on all types of people to contribute ideas," said Dr. Adam Glasofer, of the Virtua Innovation Center.

The Ascalon team has made over 150 boxes.

And they want to make more - FREE - for any local hospital wanting them.
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