Get into Medicine News - UK Doctor invents new endo-tracheal tube 

Posted by Get Into Medicine 2012

A ventilation tube which stops pneumonia from developing in patients who are in intensive care units has been invented by a UK Doctor. Dr. Peter Young, the Director of Intensive Care at the Queen Elizabeth’s Hospital in King’s Lynn and the inventor of the device, developed the new tube to try to prevent a condition known as “aspiration” from occurring.

Aspiration occurs when food leaves the stomach and travels back up the Oesophagus at the same time as the patient breathes in. This leads to food particles entering the Lungs – this is not just a choking hazard, especially in critically ill unconscious patients, but also provides the ideal environment for bacteria to grow in. The main pathogen to take advantage of the conditions created by aspiration causes Pneumonia – infection of the lining of the lung. Pneumonia is a debilitating condition even in otherwise healthy individuals – it Is often deadly for patients in intensive care.

Dr. Young’s device consists of a sealed endo-tracheal tube which prevents any partly digested products from entering the lungs even if they do travel back up the oesophagus. This corrects a previously unknown defect in the standard endotracheal tubes – which have not changed in design since the 1970s. As well as saving lives, the device is estimated to save the NHS approximately £100, 000 each year.

As an applicant to medical school, examine the following questions:

  • Are there any other examples where medical Doctors have contributed new inventions to medicine?
  • Is it a Doctor’s duty not to just treat patients, but to examine closely tried-and-tested methods in order that improvements can be made?
  • Why is saving money so important for the NHS?


Copyright 2012 Get Into Medicine