by Dr. Anne McIntosh – Safe’N’Clear, Inc. Founder & CEO.
Our family started with the birth of their daughter. On a Friday evening, my amniotic sac broke; my husband and I checked into a large hospital in Charlotte expecting a normal delivery after a non-eventful 9-month pregnancy with regular prenatal visits. After more than 25 hours of labor, I was well-aware that my risk factors for infection were now increased. I informed the nurse on duty that my water broke more than 25 hours ago (the staff work on 8-hour shifts). The nurse notified the attending OB/GYN physician and the doctor determined a C-section was needed.
I was taken to the OR and prepped for C-section. All personnel in the OR were garbed in surgical scrubs from head to toe, including facemasks — I could no longer read their lips and understand what they were saying to each other or to me. A white drape was placed between the OB/GYN and me so I could see nothing and could not piece together what was happening. On top of being tired, hungry, excited, and anxious, I had a hard time following verbal requests from health providers because I could not read their lips. Yes, my husband was there but he, too, was garbed in surgical scrubs and a face mask. In order to deal with what was going on and to keep my own sanity and blood pressure within reason, I made the executive decision to “shut down” and turned all decision-making and answering questions tasks to my husband in hopes that between him and the medical providers, they had the information they needed and everything would turn out all right. In a matter of minutes, I went from being a “doctor with a PhD who could communicate and articulate well” to a numbed, tired, fatigued patient who was counting on mercies and miracles all the way. Prayers were answered. All ended well… but I recognized how close this childbirth came to possibly not having a happy ending. Realizing that many people with hearing loss have experienced similar frightening situations or may face such a situation, I knew there was a better way and I had to find a solution.
I spoke with my brother, an attorney, and described the situation (minus a few childbirth details) and told him how the problem could be resolved with a TRANSPARENT mask. And, here we are… an FDA approved ASTM-Level 1 surgical face mask with a clear window manufactured in the USA.