Oridion enables those who fight SARS to breathe easier

Oridion is the world technology leader in capnography – the non-invasive measurement of carbon dioxide in exhaled breath.George Yariv is not used to publicizing his company’s charitable efforts. Not even the fact that Oridion’s respiratory monitoring devices are being donated …

Oridion is the world technology leader in capnography – the non-invasive measurement of carbon dioxide in exhaled breath.George Yariv is not used to publicizing his company’s charitable efforts. Not even the fact that Oridion’s respiratory monitoring devices are being donated to hospitals in China, Singapore and Hong Kong to fight the SARS outbreak has driven him to launch a PR campaign.

“We go by the traditional Jewish philosophy – that the most meaningful donations are made anonymously without a lot of public fuss,” the President, CEO and founder of Oridion says. “The goal is to help, not to make yourself look good.”

This is why for years, quietly and without fanfare, Yariv, a soft-spoken 55-year old former physicist, has been donating its respiratory monitor devices to parts of the world hit by terror attacks, earthquakes and tragic fires – and medical facilities able to take advantage of their technology.

Today, with the SARS outbreak in the Far East, it is helping once again.

Oridion is an Israeli medical device company that has developed and patented unique technologies in the fields of patient monitoring. Yariv, who immigrated to Israel from Argentina in 1970 and founded the company 17 years ago, divides his time between the company’s offices in Jerusalem and in Boston.

The world technology leader in capnography – the non-invasive measurement of carbon dioxide in exhaled breath, Oridion’s monitoring devices are recognized world-wide as the single most effective technology for monitoring breathing in patients who are not attached to artificial breathing devices.

Capnography is important to physicians and patients. Twenty years ago, many patients died in operating rooms because they did not wake up from anesthesia even if the operation was successful. Today, a negligible number of deaths are due to these complications as capnography has become a standard of care in the operating room. Capnography is also essential to care-providers in environments such as procedural sedation, intensive care, emergency care, respiratory care settings, and outpatient clinics.

How Oridion’s products ended up in far east hospitals is not a simple story. Not only does Oridion manufacture and sell monitoring devices on its own, but it cooperates with a long list of companies which are global leaders of monitoring systems including Datascope, Draeger, Philips Medical Systems, Nellcor, MDE, Medtronic Physio-Control, and others.

When SARS hit the Far East, the company had direct sales activities in the US, Europe, Japan and Israel. Through one of its corporate partners, Philips, Oridion learned that its devices were considered particularly useful for doctors fighting SARS in China. Philips had donated monitoring devices with Oridion technology to the Chinese government to help with the SARS crisis, and the government had found them so useful, that they ordered more. That was when Oridion itself stepped in and offered to donate more devices.

“Our technology is recognized as the best for monitoring the breathing of patients who are not hooked up to respirators,” Yariv explained. “This is our specialty. Most SARS patients fall into that category – they are breathing on their own. And therefore, those treating SARS find our monitors extremely helpful.”

In addition to China, Yariv said that the company is in contact with people in Singapore and Hong Kong, and Oridion monitors are being sent to clinics and hospitals in those countries.

“We’re not just packing up monitors and shipping them off somewhere,” Yariv clarified. “As we have in the past, we work with hospitals which are already using our monitors, and if they need more, we work with our contacts to make sure they are going to the right place.”

As an Israeli-based company, Oridion’s first donations made in the past were to Israeli hospitals who needed their devices urgently to monitor the breathing of victims of terror attacks in intensive care units.

They have also reached out when disaster has struck near their American headquarters in Boston. Last February, when the horrific fire in West Warwick, Rhode Island swept through a nightclub, killing 100, and injuring hundreds more, many of the victims suffered from severe respiratory injuries. Oridion had sold devices to Rhode Island hospitals in the past, and they knew and understood the technology. In a driving rainstorm in the wake of the fire, Yariv made sure that addition monitors were quickly donated to the hospitals where the fire victims were located in Rhode Island.

In the past, the company has also donated monitors to the burn unit at Massachusetts General Hospital, again without milking the move for publicity.

Oridion had not been planning to publicize its SARS effort, either – news of their efforts leaked out to the Israeli press from officials at the Israel Export Institute, which is monitoring and helping to coordinate efforts by Israeli companies who manufacture drugs or devices that are helpful in the fight against SARS.

According to the ministry, Orex Computed Radiography will also send its products to Asian countries to held prevent the spread of the SARS epidemic. Orex has developed an X-ray digital scanner that can analyze 41-81 pictures an hour. Tele-medicine company Medic-for-All is also offering its send its products to SARS affected countries, under an Israeli export program to the Far East. Medic-for-All manufactures remote patient monitoring devices that send data from the home to medical centers. According to Globes, Israeli commercial attaches in Hong Kong, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand are coordinating the program

“We’re not interested in improving our company’s image due to these tragedies,” Yariv told ISRAEL21c. “But if we can show the world that Israeli companies and Israeli society has a social conscience and wants to help those in the world who are suffering, then that is a message worth sending.”