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SA doctor wins international prize for new treatment tool

15 December 2017 - 13:10 By Petru Saal
Dr Caroline Corbett.
Dr Caroline Corbett.
Image: Caroline Corbett/linkedin

A Cape Town doctor has won a prestigious international award for developing a cost-effective device to manage patients’ airways.

Dr Caroline Corbett developed the SmartBlade in conjunction with her husband in a bid to enhance access to quality medical equipment.

The video laryngoscope‚ which is used to intubate difficult airways‚ has been hailed for its novel design and how it harnesses the power of smartphone technology.

Intubation involves inserting a “tube” through a patient’s mouth and into the airway. The device can be connected to a smartphone‚ which shows a video feed of what is happening in the airway.

The South African Society of Anaesthesiologists (SASA) said that Corbett had won the 2017 WFSA-Fresenius Kabi Anaesthesia Innovation Award for developing the device.

Corbett said: “(I was) very emotional‚ to be honest‚ as we had been so afraid the invention would never reach the people it needed to in order to make a difference.

“We are truly honoured to be the recipients of such a prestigious award and extremely grateful for the opportunities it will offer in ultimately facilitating the delivery of the (device) to clinicians who need it most.”

SASA CEO Natalie Zimmelman said the organisation was proud of the accolade and looked forward to seeing it used in South African hospitals in the future.