Moved by the sight of an infant being carried in an adult stretcher, hardly protected or safely fastened, during the 1985 Mexico City earthquake, Wendy Murphy invented the WEEVAC 6 emergency evacuation stretcher for infants.
“They would take [the infants] out of the rubble and put them on huge adult pole stretchers that were far too large for the infants to be safely secure,” Wendy recalled on the phone to Irish America.
Her stretcher allows for up to six infants to be Velcro-strapped into heat insulated pockets, which ensure that babies in need of incubators are kept warm. She drew inspiration from a variety of unlikely sources, including pizza delivery bags.
The former medical researcher and radiology technician at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children is now expanding her invention to adult stretchers for the bedridden.
She was awarded the National Research Council Award for outstanding innovativeness in 1991 for her work.
Wendy, who lives in Deer River, Ontario with her son Scott, traces her Irish ancestry to her great-grandfather Kilroy who immigrated in the 1800s.
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