Doctor excited to see team's device used in lion dental surgery

Dr Peter Young, QEH consultant, who was part of the team that designed the SAFIRA device.

Dr Peter Young, QEH consultant, who was part of the team that designed the SAFIRA device. - Credit: QEH

Doctors who turned their home electronics prototype into a medical device being used across the world and in veterinary medicine has shared how it will make clinicians and patient's life easier. 

Dr Peter Young and colleagues Dr Emad Fawzy, Dr Joseph Carter and Dr John Gibson, from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in King's Lynn, spent nearly seven years developing the medical device SAFIRA. 

Dr Peter Young (left) and Dr John Gibson from the QEH

Dr Peter Young (left) and Dr John Gibson from the QEH were among four clinicians that worked on the development of the device. - Credit: Medovate

The device helped sedate Boss the lion, based at Five Sisters Zoo, in West Calder, Scotland during specialist root canal treatment to extract two teeth. 

The QEH team helped to develop the device used in the dental procedure.

The QEH team helped to develop the device used in the dental procedure. - Credit: Five Sisters Zoo

Alongside Cambridge-based medical device company Medovate, it has been brought to the market more than 10 years.

Dr Young said on average innovations take around 17 years to get into clinical practice, but with Medivate's help the work had been completed in just over six.

SAFIRA was designed to reduce the risk of nerve injury through a built-in safety solution and the challenges in relation to subjective injective pressure feel. 


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Dr Young said: "We know if you go into a nerve with high pressure injections you can cause nerve injury.

"There was a big problem with the performance of all regional anesthesia techniques. What we did devise a little prototype which we made out of home electronics which would limit the pressure but would also which is really important make the experience of the anesthetist easier.

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"They have more control."

This week the device was used for the first time in veterinary practice, taking the team into a world of medicine they had not been involved in. 

Boss the lion has benefited from the device following dental surgery.

Boss the lion has benefited from the device following dental surgery. - Credit: Five Sisters Zoo

Dr Young said: It's really interesting and exciting to suddenly have it being used on a lion."

The consultant, who has been at QEH for 21 years, said the device is being used by colleagues at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital as well as on the market in the UK, Europe, America and New Zealand.

He said it met the "perfect trinity" of benefits, helping clinicians, patients and being financially beneficial to health services.

Dr Young, who filed his first patent as a junior doctor in 1996, said: "The nice thing is the clinicians like it and it's good for patients.

"I always think any idea there is probably 10,000 people who would have thought of it before. It's getting your teeth into it and pushing it through and going down all the pathways, being persistent and keeping going."



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