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“Global coronavirus outbreak nhas pushed the us. Health care system to its brink hospitals are are already running out of nbasic supplies. Like masks eye gear gowns and ventilators ventilators key in helping keep npeople with the most severe cases of covid 19 alive. But with the number of infected nrising daily.
There are not nearly enough of them and there s no neasy way to get more are there enough ventilators nin. This country in a worst case scenario ventilators nwould. Be one of the choke. Points if you will nfor effective.
Response there are about 160000 ventilators in nthe. United states now and there s another. 12000. Or 13000.
In na stockpile that are intended to be used in emergencies. But most hospitals say that this nwill not be enough especially if coronavirus cases. Keep climbing and you re seeing hospitals across the ncountry sound. The alarm.
And say is there a way that we can nget an emergency supply. So that we don t have to make the decisions nabout who lives and who dies. In 2005 the us department of nhealth and human services estimated that the. Us would need 740000.
Nventilators in a severe pandemic like the spanish flu of. 1918 that number is a far cry. Nfrom the 173000. Ventilators.
That it s. Estimated we currently nhave on hand before. The outbreak ventilators accounted nfor just. 43 billion of the 4255 billion global nmedical device.
Market ventilators are critical in treating the nmost severe cases of the coronavirus. Where inflammation prevents people nfrom taking in enough air on their own they work by blowing air through na breathing tube. That s placed in the patient s windpipe. Allowing oxygen nto flow into the lungs.
The reason for the shortage now is. Nbecause we are seeing cases of the pandemic continue to climb nacross the us. And a lot of the models would suggest nthat. We re going to see a big spike in the next couple of weeks.
Most people don t think that we ve hit na peak. Yet when it comes to this this pandemic and a lot of nthe patients who end up in the hospital. Do need to nbe on a ventilator. When the patients first come into nthe hospital with severe conditions actually you can use na lower grade ventilator.
But in general you need more of the nlower t. He less acute ones and fewer of the critical care ones. But obviously with the caveat that nthe critical care ones are the ones that s most needed when patients nare are in very severe condition. We have already seen nthis play out in italy.
What we re seeing now in italy. Nis that they lack ventilators and doctors are in this crazy. Position nof deciding who to ventilate and who not to ventilate they are rationing care..
We know from studies out of china nfor example that about 17 percent or so of coronavirus patients nactually require a ventilator. So we re not talking about nyou know a large capacity. But when you look at the number nof people that are going to be infected by coronavirus that translates nto. Many many people and that s why we re nworried about this some of the biggest ventilator nmanufacturers like medtronic plc philips draegerwerk ag and getinge are nracing to ramp up production philips has said that the company nis looking to double the ventilators that it makes per week nfrom.
1000 to 2000 initially but hopes to achieve a fourfold nincrease by the third quarter in a statement. Philips said nit is hiring additional manufacturing employees adding manufacturing lines nand instituting round. The clock shifts medtronic is transferring workers nfrom its other factories to galway ireland. That s where the company makes nits puritan line of ventilators medtronic says.
It has already increased nproduction by more than 40 percent. And has ndoubled its capacity. We re going to open source. One of nour lower end ventilators in less acute situations for others to make nas quickly as they can this this product is a little more ngeneric in form and can be probably made a little more easily nthan the one we make which requires many components and some of the components nrequire.
Very precise manufacturing. But smaller companies nare affected too ventec life systems in washington says nthat. It s moving from its typical production of 150 machines a nmonth to a 1000. Per month.
We are in a dire situation where no nhospital in the us can have enough ventilators because this is i think nthis is going to get really really bad we re a major hospital nand. We have we are associated with smaller hospitals nand referral hospitals. So if a smaller hospital in nthe surrounding area lacks capacity. They re going to send those npatients to our hospital.
So we re going to nget overwhelmed pretty quickly. Now governments and individuals are ncoming up with some unconventional ways to stem nthe ventilator. Shortage the uk government has turned nto a wartime solution asking manufacturers like vacuum company. Dyson nand luxury car maker rolls royce to produce nessential equipment.
President trump has also encouraged nautomakers to aid in the production of ventilators. But there have been conflicting messages nas to whether the president is formally enforcing the ndefense protection act. The statute forces manufacturers to nproduce. Scarce materials deemed ventilators.
But for now trump nis. Encouraging local governments to act first of all the governors are nsupposed to be doing a lot of this work. And they are doing na lot of this work. Federal governments is not supposed to nbe out there buying vast amounts of items and then shipping.
You know we re not shipping clerk. A number of governors and nmayors have criticized the administration for not doing enough to help nlocal communities deal with the pandemic fema says. We re nsending 400 ventilators. Really what am i going to what.
Nam i going to do with 400 ventilators when i need. 30000 you pick the 26000. People who are ngoing to die. Because you only sent 400 ventilators.
The federal defense nprocurement act can actually help companies because the federal government ncan say look i need you to go into this business. I will contract with you today nfor x. Number of ventilators here is the startup ncapital. You need.
Only the federal government nhas that power and not to exercise that npower is inexplicable to me. The federal government nhas been absent so for example. We ve repeatedly asked nthe secretary of health and human services to nget us..
Ventilators we need. 15000 ventilators and nwe need them right. Away i would like to see 100000. Ventilators nbeing built in a couple of weeks on a federal level.
But states nalone trying to figure out how to do this is not a good solution. An individual hospital trying to figure out nhow to do this is not a good solution. Without a federal law. Nin place to nationalize the purchase of medical supplies s.
Tates nare. Having to compete with other states for supplies and ndealing with price gouging. I think the federal government nshould order factories to manufacture masks gowns ventilators the nessential medical equipment that s going to make the difference nbetween life and death. Even ventilator.
Manufacturers are asking nfor more clarity from the government when it comes to ndetermining how to allocate the ventilators they produce so right now every week. We go nthrough an equity analysis of where the greatest need is depending on you nknow. How many patients have been diagnosed. And what nstate they re in and we kind of try nto prioritize.
It that way. But we re also sort of proposing that nthey that in the united states. There is a centralized body through nfema who can do the allocation and then they can nmove. These ventilators around that will be a much more efficient nprocess than us trying to do it.
The us is not the first country nto experience. These shortages and it won t be the last. Some nequipment manufacturers are saying that america is towards the back of the nqueue when it comes to accessing these ventilators because they have already nbeen sold and in use in other countries that needed nthem before we did on sunday trump announced in a tweet nthat gm. Ford and tesla have been given the go nahead to make ventilators.
But it seems that many nof. These automotive manufacturers are partnering with medical device ncompanies rather than producing ventilators on their own and the details of these npartnerships have been vague gm has announced that it is nleveraging its logistics purchasing and manufacturing expertise to help nventec life systems meanwhile ford is partnering with nge in manufacturing ventilators. Though. The company has not said nwhere they will be manufactured in a.
Tweet elon. Musk. Said nthat he purchased 1255 ventilators from china and was shipping them to. La tesla is also partnering with medtronic nto build some less complex ventilators.
We re also opening up with nother partners who have come forward and tesla is one that i nthink people have heard about where one of our ventilators will nbe made by them and they re fast on track to ntry to make that as well and they re doing that in parallel nwhile. We re focusing on the product that we that is our largest nvolume product. Which is the pb 980. The car companies had already nplanned to suspend auto production at their plants in an effort nto safeguard their employees from the coronavirus.
Some automotive experts seem nconfident they can handle the volume. What we re talking about nhere is by automotive standards. Relatively relatively low nvolume manufacturing. We re talking about initially maybe a ncouple of hundred units a day you know not fourteen.
Fifteen thousand na day like the big automakers produce and all these automakers have nconventional shops. Where they make their own tooling and they make nprototype parts. Which are kind of divorced from the nbig manufacturing plants and those prototype shops are manned nby. Highly skilled workers who can read drawings and read ncomputer printouts and make things and the tooling for the type of.
Nthing we re talking about like a ventilator that doesn t have like n3000. Parts like an automobile does it probably has na couple of dozen and they re all relatively simple it will look like an automotive assembly nline in the 20s or 30s. So it ll be relatively primitive it ll be on reusable equipment it ll involve a lot of human labor..
But the job will get done lutz said that assuming carmakers can nget the parts. They would be able to start producing ventilators in n10 days to two weeks. But medical experts say it nmay not be that simple. It s not something you know they can just ngive gm a plan of and that they can start producing it.
But i ndo think that using workers from let s say automakers and so on to ncome help ge and these other companies in a limited fashion nto build more ventilators could really really help there are over n100 of these smaller component parts that go into a ventilator and across the world. As this becomes na global pandemic. Many of these supplies are going to be stretched. Because it won t just be the nunited states that needs these parts even if a car company has nexperience producing air filtration devices.
There is a significant gap between what nthat might look like and how a ventilator functions. It is a very nvery complicated machine. When you are intubated right and nyou re on a ventilator. You are either conscious or not.
And the machine senses. Exactly how nmuch pressure and how much volume of air to put into your lungs. So nas to give you enough oxygen but not to damage your lungs nby. Expanding them too much it s a very complicated sensing nprocess that it goes through so.
It s not something that s neasy to kind of develop and beyond technical specifications. The nentire process of producing a ventilator is usually tightly regulated nand involves sometimes years long testing periods. But the fda is relaxing some nof. These restrictions.
Saying that manufacturers that would normally need nfda clearance to modify a ventilator. Could now do it nwithout. An agency review in. Theory this should nhelp speed.
Up production but with ventilators ranging from. 25000. Nfor the basic models to 50000 for those used in intensive ncare units. The question then becomes can hospitals afford them a lot of hospitals are holding noff on ordering ventilators.
Because of the financial implications of this and again. I think. This is nan issue with smaller hospitals. This could bankrupt.
Many nof those smaller hospitals and if they don t come into use right. Nw hat are they going to do with all this after. Besides nthe. Upfront.
Cost. Ventilators also require a large investment from nhospitals in staff and training right. Now. It needs.
A trained nmedical team. A respiratory therapist. A nurse and some kind of doctor. That s usually a pulmonologist so a lot of resources for none.
Ventilator and for one patient. The do it yourself community has also taken nup the charge to create more ventilators in light nof. The shortage..
There s a lot of designs out there nthat. I ve seen from developing a diy device that squeezes a bag to ngive breaths to a patient to how do we use one ventilator jerry rig nit so it ventilates four patients instead of one patient. I ve never used any of these nbefore. But i m impressed with the enthusiasm in italy a group of nengineers 3d printed replacement ventilator valves after the manufacturer couldn t nprovide them and the regional hospital ran out printer maker.
Hp nhas. Also said that it would pitch in and use its 3d nprinter technology. To build things like ventilator valves. Breathing.
Filters nand. Face mask clasps something that we ve also seen is some nof these 3d printing start ups that are helping to make nemergency ventilators different reusable parts. I think that will have a npart to play if things get really really bad. But these parts are noften protected by both intellectual property laws and nmanufacturing regulations so they have to be reverse nengineered before they can be produced in ireland.
A group of over n300 engineers. Designers and tech founders banded together to ndesign an easy to build emergency ventilator. Another more hands on approach nthat s been discussed is to use human volunteers whether nthey be medical students nursing students or someone from the nmilitary to manually ventilate for patients it may sound crazy. But it s nbeen it s been done before in the 1952 copenhagen.
Polio crisis they had medical student volunteers nventilating patients by hand and in some very little resource ncountries. That unfortunately is what happens ku and his team. Nat. Thomas jefferson.
University hospital. Hoped to use this as a nbackup plan. Especially. Since using human ventilators would put those individuals at nrisk of infection.
As well. We ve been working on how to make nthat process as safe as possible for the human ventilator. That you want to make sure nthey re in full on protective gear. And the bag actually is used nto ventilate.
The patient with 3d printing and connection piece to put on ntop of that bag to prevent the coronavirus from leaking out where the us. Finds itself n. Ow nis the result of many things. But one of them is nundoubtedly lack of planning.
We don t have ventilators because we ndid not anticipate and plan accordingly. I think we should nhave been testing months ago. Testing is not going nto contain covid. 19.
It s already spread it s uncontainable right now and if we don t prepare right now nwe re going to be screwed in a couple of weeks. The storm is coming nand. You can t just make a ventilator overnight or on demand. So we need to start building.
Right nnow. Today for where we re going to be in a couple of weeks. ” ..
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