ME student teams have developed a surgical lift that Dr. Karin Muraszko, Chair of the UM Neurosurgery Department, uses every time she performs surgical operations at the UM Hospital.
Muraszko, a pediatric neurosurgeon at the CS Mott Children’s Hospital, was born with mild spina bifida, and the lift helps compensate for limitations that would otherwise hinder her ability to perform surgeries. The project was initiated when Muraszko’s nurse approached ME Professor Albert Shih, a coordinator of ME450, with the need. The result of this request was a lift that has been used successfully by Muraszko.
“There are around 20 to 30 [ME 450 design] projects done each semester,” said Shih. “Some of them turn out to have a really good outcome, and become successful products.” The lift, designed by ME students Dayna Anderson, Patrick Davis, Leslie Savage and Monika Skowronska in fall 2008, is an example of one such success story.
“It was exciting to work on an ME450 project that had a real purpose and was actually used for a good cause,” said Anderson, president of Pi Tau Sigma. “We worked closely with Dr. Muraszko to ensure her needs and the sanitation needs were met to the best of our ability. The team went through many design iterations before assembling the final product. The hope was that once a solid manufacturable and modular lift was made, it could then be produced for other surgeons that have expressed interest in Muraszko’s lift.” These students’ work was a continuation of another ME450 project from winter 2008, which was completed by students Chad Britton, Tony Frankini, Nick Friedt and Pat O’Leary.
A new team of students is continuing to develop and improve upon the project this semester. “I met with the team that is working on the lift this semester as an ME450 project to answer any questions they had and to offer advice,” Anderson said. “It sounds like the design is almost ready; modifications to the seat with arm rests and wheels for a surgical setting are some improvements that they are working on.”
Muraszko was the first woman to be accepted into the neurosurgery program at Columbia University. By accepting appointment to chair of the Department of Neurosurgery in 2005, she made history again by becoming the first female head of an academic neurosurgery department in the country.