A passion for pure air links St. Luke’s Carbon Campus with Allentown entrepreneur Kathryn Worrilow, PhD., in a win-win partnership that will protect patients from COVID-19 and all other airborne pathogens in the new hospital.
Early this spring, six LifeAire Systems air purification units, designed and manufactured at the company’s factory in Allentown (Pa), were installed in the ductwork leading to the new hospital’s surgery patient stations, operating rooms, ICU, post-anesthesia care units (recovery rooms) and medical-surgical units.
This advanced technology, the most powerful air purification system available to the healthcare industry, will sterilize the air flowing through the HVAC system at the hospital, removing or neutralizing pathogens that might otherwise infect patients recovering from illness or surgery.
“The LifeAire technology is an example of the state-of-the-art technology present throughout the new hospital, installed for the safety and health of our patients,” said John Nespoli, president of St. Luke’s Lehighton and Carbon campuses. “LifeAire is much more than an air filtering system; it purifies the air that surrounds our patients and staff and they breathe.”
The relationship between St. Luke’s University Health Network and Worrilow began in 2017 when her Allentown-based company, LifeAire, designed and installed an experimental air purification system serving patient rooms at St. Luke’s Allentown Campus. Last year as COVID-19 spread, a second LifeAire system was added at that hospital. This same efficient virus-ridding technology is in the units just installed in the new Carbon County hospital, which is under construction.
The 160,000-square-feet facility will house 80 beds, an expansive ER, intensive care unit, operating rooms and the latest diagnostic and treatment technology. The ultra-modern hospital is being built at the junction of the Mahoning Valley interchange of routes 476 and 209 in Franklin Township. It will be the first new acute-care, advanced-technology hospital to serve Carbon County residents in more than 100 years.
Each LifeAire purifier in the new hospital measures approximately 4-fee-wide by 7-feet-long by 2-feet-high and will kill all infectious viral, bacterial and fungal pathogens at levels that exceed sterility, explained Worrilow. Two additional LifeAire Systems will be installed at the hospital in the future to serve operating and procedure rooms.
Worrilow and LifeAire, the company she founded and runs, originally developed the air purification technology originally for the in-vitro fertilization (IVF) process, then innovatively adapted it for use in the air handling units in hospitals like St. Luke’s. Pathogen-free air is essential for creating and sustaining life, making it ideal for IVF as well as for protecting patients while they heal.
A research study on the benefits of the St. Luke’s Allentown units, conducted by St. Luke’s and LifeAire, and published in the prestigious journal Surgery, described a reduction in hospital-acquired infection and readmission rates, a decrease in length of stay, and significant cost savings to the hospital.
The power of the LifeAire technology to purify the air at St. Luke’s Carbon and Allentown campuses affirms its estimable value alongside the healthcare heroes that fight the COVID-19 plague and other illnesses day after day.