A California rocket-maker will start producing simple ventilators

“This one is going to basically be for all the patients who need a ventilator but do not need a top-line ventilator,” Dr. Govind Rajan, the director of clinical affairs at the UC Irvine Medical Center, says. “That will free up all these top-line ventilators for the sickest of the sick.”

Modern ventilators can get fairly complicated, incorporating sensors to monitor the patient and multiple settings to configure the machines to specific health needs.

To help alleviate the pressure, a group of physicians and biomedical device experts hopes to start producing “bridge” ventilators in the coming weeks. These are simpler devices, akin to the handheld “ambu” bags used by paramedics to give oxygen to patients over brief periods of time, while in transit or before they have been intubated.

Just over a week ago, he and a team including Brian J.F. Wong, a UCI plastic surgeon who works in medical device development, and Thomas Milner, a University of Texas, Austin, biomedical engineer, kickstarted the the Bridge Ventilator Consortium. The ad hoc group is working to address the equipment shortages with an open source design that relies on parts that can be sourced at stores such as Home Depot or AutoZone.

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