good Samaritan

Local Dental Lab Worker to Donate 3D-Printed Medical Gear

Sonnie Bocala is 3D printing medical gear with FDA-approved materials so he can donate the equipment to local medical workers

NBCUniversal, Inc.

With a shortage of personal protective equipment for medical workers in the front line of the battle against the novel coronavirus, one good Samaritan is stepping up and using a 3D printer to make medical gear to donate.

Sonnie Bocala is the president of La Mesa-based Apex Dental Sleep Lab and although his business has been put on hold because of the pandemic, he’s been keeping busy with his philanthropic effort.

"With the dental office being closed down, the equipment is available," he told NBC 7 via video call. "So we might as well make use of it to help health care providers.”

Bocala has been using a 3D printer to make specialized medical equipment like the N95 mask and respirators so he can donate to health care workers. Using FDA-approved materials to make the items, the good Samaritan is also making a universal mask that may have a longer shelf life than its average counterparts.

“Reuse that and sterilize the outside that touches your face,” Bocala demonstrated. “It makes that last longer.”

Bocala told NBC 7 that with the printer, he’s able to manufacture a component that will allow for a single ventilator to be shared between two patients.

Right now, Bocala’s finished products are being tested for comfort at a local urgent care. Once everything is situated, he will make more protective gear to donate to local medical workers.

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