Engineering 101

Doctor 3D-Printed Stethoscopes To Help With Shortage Of Medical Supplies In Poverty-Stricken Areas

In the Palestinian territory there is a severe shortage of medical supplies. A Palestinian-Canadian doctor, Tarek Loubani, has turned to 3D printing for help.

Dr. Loubani has begun 3D-printing stethoscopes for just $2.50 — and they’re just as good as a traditional stethoscopes, according to Laboratory Equipment.

According to Laboratory Equipment:

Hospitals have been struggling since the militant Hamas group took over the Gaza Strip in 2007 and Israel and Egypt imposed a blockade on the territory. The import restrictions have led to shortages of medicines and basic supplies like medical consumables and IV bags.

Three years ago, Dr. Loubani was assisting at a hospital in Gaza City during a war between Israel and Palestine and as patients poured into the emergency room, doctors were forced to make do with only two stethoscopes. That’s when the idea dawned him.

Dr. Loubani's 3D -printed stethoscope. (Image via Laboratory Equipment/Khalil Hamra, Associated Press)
Dr. Loubani’s 3D -printed stethoscope. (Image via Laboratory Equipment/Khalil Hamra, Associated Press)

Back in Canada he discovered that the ear of the stethoscope didn’t actually need to be constructed of stainless steel and just last week finally finished a prototype of his 3D-printed plastic stethoscope.

This week Dr. Loubani watched members of his team 3D-print stethoscopes at a store in Gaza City. The team assembled the 3D printer on site and then melted red filament over a heated surface to create. Once printed, Dr. Loubani attached the head to ear tubes and tips that had also been 3D-printed.

“This is simple, cheap and it’s enough for us here,” Dr. Ayman Sahbani, head of the emergency department at Shifa, who tested the Glia stethoscope, told Laboratory Equipment. “Now we can make a stethoscope available for each doctor.”

Story and Image via Laboratory Equipment.

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