Plastic bags with holes cut out work as PPE and could be an alternative to shields, doctors on the Covid-19 frontline have claimed.
Medics in India who trialled the DIY face coverings revealed they could still breathe while carrying out procedures. And they reported that their spectacles didn't fog up — a problem suffered by many when they wear a mask.
Although the suggestion seems comical, they stressed that the difficulties faced by global PPE shortages mean new solutions are needed.
Healthcare workers rely on PPE, including masks and gloves, to protect themselves and their patients from infections. But PPE is in short supply across the world, with low-income countries struggling to source enough protective equipment.
Some doctors in India have already resorted to raincoats and motorbike helmets as substitutes.
Even in Britain, NHS medics have claimed they have had to use bin bags and cooking aprons as a last resort. MPs were told this week the care homes are still struggling to source PPE as Britain goes into the 'second wave' this winter.
Plastic bags with holes cut in work as PPE and may be an alternative to shields, Indian doctors on the Covid-19 frontline claim. Their makeshift covering is pictured
Four healthy medics volunteered to test the plastic bag with two holes cut at the back
Doctors at Manian Medical Centre, in Tamil Nadu, offered the bizarre suggestion to try to solve some of the gaps in PPE resources.
Dr Subramanian Senthilkumaran, in the hospital's emergency department, published the results of a study of their makeshift coverings.
Four medics — two emergency physicians and two technicians— volunteered to take part.
An over-sized rectangular, clear transparent plastic bag was put over their heads and tucked into the top of their scrubs so that it would not slip out of place.
They were wearing a respirator N95 mask — the most robust kind, to try and offer them another level of protection from infectious diseases.
Medics in the NHS are advised to wear a N95 mask as well as eye protection, such as goggles or a face shield, when working in close proximity to a Covid-19 patient.
Two holes, each of 3cm in diameter, were cut into the the back of the bags to allow the medics to breathe.
Shortages of PPE in both the NHS and social cares sector led to widespread complaints that staff were working in unsafe conditions during the first wave of the pandemic. Some grieving family members even blamed the lack of PPE for the deaths of their loved ones who may have caught the coronavirus at work.
PPE shortages could once again wreak havoc across the NHS, SAGE warned in its 47th meeting on July 16.
Minutes said with high certainty 'there will be co-infection with influenza over the winter', confirming fears of a 'double whammy'.
And with both illnesses rife in the community, this could cause 'logistical challenges around PPE usage'.
PPE, which includes face masks, goggles and gloves, are vital for protecting hospital staff and patients from outbreaks.
The disposable, one-use items are thrown away between patients to avoid viruses spreading from one patient to another.
But shortages crippled the NHS during the height of the pandemic due to a sheer lack of preparedness to stock up by the Government.
A repeat of the chaos could be even more dangerous this winter with two viruses —both of which can be fatal — in hospitals.
Workers in the care sector have already warned of a lack of access to PPE.
Jane Townson, chief executive, UK Homecare Association, said: 'Providers are unable to access the quantities [of PPE] that we are told they should be able to order through the portal, because there just aren't enough supplies behind the scenes.
'So that really needs to be addressed, because the PPE is, at the moment, the major additional cost apart from staffing.'
Each participant was asked to do endotracheal intubation twice on a mannequin,