New York Times on Ventilator Shortage for Bird Flu Crisis

March 12, 2006

This is all the talk of the AARC disaster preparedness mailing lists. Even I, so many years out of practice in the RT game feel like I could provide help with mechanical ventilation if bird flu hits in earnest. This is assuming of course, I myself am not put down by the flu!

Hospitals Short on Ventilators if Bird Flu Hits – New York Times
No one knows whether an avian flu virus that is racing around the world might mutate into a strain that could cause a human pandemic, or whether such a pandemic would cause widespread illness in the United States. But if it did, public health experts and officials agree on one thing: the nation’s hospitals would not have enough ventilators, the machines that pump oxygen into sick patients’ lungs.

Right now, there are 105,000 ventilators, and even during a regular flu season, about 100,000 are in use. In a worst-case human pandemic, according to the national preparedness plan issued by President Bush in November, the country would need as many as 742,500.

To some experts, the ventilator shortage is the most glaring example of the country’s lack of readiness for a pandemic.

One response to “New York Times on Ventilator Shortage for Bird Flu Crisis”

  1. I have an idea that may help solve at least a part of this problem. The full article is on my blog

    http://panvent.blogspot.com/

    Here is the Abstract: The number of ventilators required to save the lives of people stricken with respiratory failure in a pandemic is far greater than the number of ventilators available. Many people will die needlessly unless something is done. Ventilators are expensive to buy and maintain, so government organizations are stockpiling only a minimal reserve. Manual type ventilators will not be adequate for many cases. We need an organization to develop a design for an automated ventilator that will be adequate and can be built from parts that will be available in sufficient quantities during a pandemic. This organization will design, and test a freely available open source ventilator design, that individuals and healthcare organizations can build themselves in a pandemic crisis.

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