From her laboratory within the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation at Children’s National Health System in Washington, D.C., Paige Mass (BME ’17) can see the SkyBear medical helicopter delivering critical patients, from infants to teenagers. While Mass is not likely to meet any one of them in person, she could conceivably change the lives of some of those patients through her design of a cardiac device specific to their individual needs. In a telephone interview from Children’s National, Mass, an R&D development operations engineer, recalls being allowed to observe a surgery in which one of her 3D-printed models was being tested.
“That was a huge moment for me, to see something go from my computer screen to the heart of a patient, and to know that it helped and made a difference,” she says. “I would like to someday see the devices I’m working on get FDA approval and become commercially available or the standard of care. If we can improve patient care through things like taking what is currently an open-chest, highly invasive procedure down to a small incision and see better outcomes for patients, that would be the dream.”
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