A passion for well-being that has changed the lives of millions of patients in hospital
When Michael Allaway was a teenager, his father Barrington suffered a serious accident riding his Norton Manx, during the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy motorcycle rally. The latter was bedridden for several months and suffers greatly, not only from accident-related injuries but also from pressure ulcers. Michael still remembers how shocked he was at the sight of his father’s pressure ulcers and that no treatment was being offered to alleviate the pain. These are times when England is focused on post-war reconstruction and notions of well-being and comfort are still superfluous. A few years later, his young father then aged 54, died as a result of his accident.
At 17, Michael Allaway, took up a career in the Royal Air Force. Two years later, having survived an accident while flying a DH Tiger Moth, it was his turn to be bedridden for many weeks in RAF Norton Hall Hospital, facing the discomfort of a spring mattress and the threat of pressure ulcers.
In the early 1970s, after 15 years’ expatriation in Asia, he started a company in Europe marketing insulation materials for world famous automotive, thermal insulation and scuba diving brands. In 1986, under the presidence of Richard Nixon, Michael Allaway won the Presidential « E » Award 1986 for his sales performance in the export of technical foams and rubbers.
Following a trip to Denmark in the early 1990s Michael Allaway discovered one of three small companies just starting to pour polymere viscoelastic foam for the private market.
Fascinated by this incredibly revolutionary material originally designed for the comfort of seated astronauts, and with his experience of technical raw materials, he immediately saw the possibility of a medical application in the prevention of “bedsores”. After that, Michael Allaway devoted himself with his engineering partners to perfecting prototypes of anti-decubitus mattresses and cushions, following very specific guiding principles and never settling anything other than the best. In 1994, he started a company producing pressure ulcer prevention products for sale to hospitals, and named it Barrington Healthcare International in memory of his late father.
Michael Allaway worked tirelessly to improve his products. He was determined to create a mattress with the highest technical specifications, that would enhance the inherent pressure relief properties offered by viscoelatic polymers in order to achieve optimal immersion and envelopment of the patient’s body. Numerous visits to hospitals and different care units around the world gave him valuable insight into patient care and nurse concerns and resulting in multiple product improvements: side beams, specific thickness, specific padding for hot and humid countries, extra resistance against infections (nosocomial diseases), strengthening against sharp objects, durability in a high patient turnover environment … The H60 mattress, with its recognizable deep-purple colour, was also designed in consideration pf the growing obesity in Western countries.
These efforts ultimately lead to the making of an exceptionally efficient mattress,
always at the cutting edge of the healthcare technology.