I am a registered nurse who is hearing with dismay about the coming disastrous shortage of ventilators. I would like to put an idea in front of you and ask you to circulate it to the kind of people that might be able to bring it to reality.
Ambu bags are hand-operated ventilators that are commonly used to ventilate a patient who isn’t breathing at the scene of an accident or during transport. Here’s a link that describes them:
In Third World countries, if a patient needs ventilating, sometimes the responsibility is given to a family member to keep squeezing the bag. In mass casualty situations, I’ve even heard of intubated patients bagging themselves. All that to say that if a designer could come up with a simple, easy design to rhythmically squeeze something about the size and shape of a football, in a way that could control how often (rate) and how much (tidal volume) it squeezed, hospitals with their back to the walls could fake up acceptable ventilators that would keep people alive. It would be especially useful if it were done Apollo 13-style using things that could normally be found in hospital maintenance shops, so that it could be created onsite, instead of waiting for manufacture.
Maybe you are the person who can pull a design together. Maybe you know the person who can do it. Maybe you know the online group that is likely to have that person as a member. If you can help, please, your docs and nurses need you.
Donna Glee Williams, RN