From The Daily Advertiser in Lafayette, LA: Lafayette business looks to reduce needle injuries with new disintegration device
A new device aimed at reducing needlestick injuries in homes and hospitals could be a gamechanger for health care professionals, diabetics, sanitation workers, police and needle exchange programs.
The SANDD (Sharps and Needle Destruction Device), made by Lafayette-based RedHawk Medical Products and Services, uses an arc of electricity to completely disintegrate a needle and prevent any accidental needlesticks.
“In most states, people are throwing needles in laundry detergent bottles, Coke bottles, Powerade bottles,” said Beau Rhyne, the project manager for the SANDD mini.
The SANDD mini, the small, portable version of the device, is designed to dispose of 27 to 31 gauge hypodermic needles five-sixteenths to five-eighths of an inch in length on insulin pens, disposable pre-filled syringes, and lancets.
When activated, the device uses the arc of electricity to heat the needle to about 4,000 degrees within three seconds. Any pieces of incinerated metal drop into a chamber below. When the syringe is pulled out, the needle is completely incinerated, leaving no sharp portions.
The heat also kills off any blood-borne pathogens, and the incinerated needle creates a vacuum in the syringe, meaning nothing left inside can escape.
With the needle incinerated, the syringe no longer has to be put in a sharps container, but can be thrown away with bandages and other medical waste in a clinical setting. For home use, the syringe can be thrown away with household trash.
“It’s really easy to operate, simple to operate,” said the company’s chairman and CEO Darcy Klug.
Link to video: https://youtu.be/dJmmIQQUfSs
The company has also entered a partnership with celebrity doctor Drew “Dr. Drew” Pinsky. Pinsky, an internal medicine and addiction specialist, has appeared on a number of TV programs and networks, including “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” CNN and Fox News.
Rhyne and Klug said the device could have incredible implications for users in both a home and medical setting.
Klug said he became interested in the idea after asking his wife, who has rheumatoid arthritis, what she does with needles after using them.
He said she told him that she could take them to the doctor or mail them to the insurance company, but doctors and hospitals have their own sharps to deal with and it can be expensive to mail hazardous materials. So most people put them in bottles and cans and throw them in the trash.
The result is that sanitation workers can be at great risk for needle injuries. A 2018 report by the Environmental Research and Education Foundation and the Solid Waste Association of North America found that an estimated 781 to 1,484 needlestick injuries occur each year at material recovery facilities and could result in up to $2.25 million in costs.
Hospital workers and health care professionals are also at risk. A 2000 report from the Government Accountability Office that looked at the benefits of needlestick prevention devices found that approximately 384,000 needle-related injuries occurred each year in U.S. hospitals, including health care workers outside of hospitals, which is more than half the industry.
A needle also cannot be reused after being put through the SANDD. Although safety needles — syringes with needles that can be detached or retracted — can reduce needlesticks, they can also be reused.
“When you utilize our device, the needle cannot be used for anything other than its intended purpose,” Rhyne said.
Klug said the company is currently taking orders for the SANDD mini on its website, and the company is delivering units to the Texas school system to be used in nurses’ offices.
The mini device sells for $180.
“It’s an ideal situation with school nurses,” Klug said. “It’s safe handling for them.”
The company also has a prototype of its SANDD Pro device, which would be used in medical settings, such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. The Pro unit can dispose of a greater variety of needles and has a collection container.
The mini units are assembled at LSU’s Innovation Park, Klug said. Currently, the materials are manufactured overseas, but Klug said he wants to find a way to make the materials in Louisiana as well.
Klug said he’s been told that the SANDD may be under-priced, and although profits are something he’s considering, Klug said there are other priorities with the device.
“This entire program is beyond profitability,” Klug said. “We have other agendas, more social agendas… Part of it is environmental, part of it is safety.”
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