A doctor at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City has clarified that CPAP/BiPAP ventilators, such as those donated by Tesla CEO Elon Musk to hospitals in the United States, can be converted to “critical care-capable machines.”
The clarification comes after Musk’s ventilator donations to hospitals in need drew criticism from some of the CEO’s most vocal detractors. However, Dr. David L. Reich, MD of Mount Sinai Hospital, explained the ventilators Musk donated are not only beneficial to patients, but that the machines can be converted to assist those who are showing more severe symptoms.
The conversion process was recognized by Musk, who extended his gratitude by not only saying “you’re welcome,” but also by complimenting the impressive work of the team of doctors who discovered the conversion capability. “Impressive work by Mount Sinai team,” Musk added.
You’re most welcome! Impressive work by Mount Sinai team.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 2, 2020
The process of this conversion was detailed in a document prepared by Mount Sinai Hospital doctors. The text, titled “Repurposing bi-level ventilators for use with intubated patients while minimizing risk to health care works during insufficient supply of conventional ventilation for patients with COVID-19,“ shows the process of converting a CPAP/BiPAP machine into a more powerful ventilator. These newly revised machines can be used for those with severe and dangerous symptoms.
The items used are readily available, according to the document written by Mount Sinai doctors. The report states that “the availability of these devices for repurposing is such that supply will be sufficient to better position hospitals to meet the anticipated ventilation device demand during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The modifications could increase the likelihood that patients with the most severe cases of COVID-19 will get the assistance they need, as more powerful ventilators continue to be a rarity in the time of crisis.
Musk has donated a considerable number of ventilators to hospitals around the U.S. to assist medical facilities with a shortage of machines. Musk’s initial donations included many CPAP/BiPAP ventilator systems that can be utilized for less severe cases of the illness. The conversion process shared by the doctors in New York could significantly decrease the number of fatalities that come from severe cases of the virus.
As companies like Medtronics and Resmed continue to supply hospitals with their machines, the modifications that can be made to non-invasive ventilators could save hundreds of lives. Additionally, the donations could prove to be the answer to the country’s extreme shortage of high-performance, invasive ventilators.