By Shelby Brooks

MAX Rounds, who hails from Leongatha, has had a hand in designing a personal ventilation hood for hospital beds treating COVID-19 patients.

Max, who attended local primary and secondary schools, works as a lab engineer at the University of Melbourne after graduating last year with a Masters of Engineering (Mechanical).

His team, under the supervision of Professor Jason Monty, built the prototype in one day after being contacted by doctors at Western Health back in March.

“At that stage we didn’t really know how severe [COVID-19] was going to be,” Max said.

The hood provides better respiratory treatment for patients, reducing the need for invasive ventilation.

It also acts as a transparent barrier between patient and staff, reducing viral levels of COVID-19 in the immediate surroundings and giving hospital staff greater protection.

Within ten days, the team had built and tested two more prototypes and a clinical trial was underway at Western Health.

The trial found high levels of patient and staff satisfaction and similar trials are being rolled out across Victoria.

The team is working on adaptions to fit the hood to an ambulance bed and is also looking to take the hood internationally.

Max said the process had been a unique learning experience.

“For us, we were just doing our job, but it is very rewarding to be working with healthcare workers on the frontline and doing our part,” he said.