Tesla CEO Elon Musk clarified some misconceptions about some of the ventilator machines he and his company have donated to hospitals amid the coronavirus shortages.
On Tuesday, March 31, the NYC Health + Hospitals Twitter account announced they had received 40 ventilator systems from Tesla. The systems could be used for patients who have contracted COVID-19, a virus that directly affects a patient’s respiratory system and can prevent regular and comfortable breathing patterns.
Happy we could be helpful! More available if needed.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 31, 2020
Some recognized tesla’s good deeds to donate these machines as just one of his many generous acts during the crisis. However, some critics were quick to point out the fact that the ventilators sent to the hospital in Queens were CPAP/BiPAP machines, speculating that they would not assist patients in need of breathing normally.
The Food and Drug Administration has clarified that CPAP machines, which are usually used to treat sleep apnea, could be utilized to treat patients with non-severe symptoms, according to an article from FierceBiotech.com. The FDA took this step in response to a shortage in ventilator machines as cases of COVID-19 began to grow in the United States.
Additionally, Musk clarified that it was “very important to provide C/BiPap devices to *prevent* cases from becoming severe. Once severe (intratracheal intubation), survival rates are low.”
Musk clarified that the hospitals who requested Tesla’s help during this time were given “exact specifications” of the ventilators they would be receiving. This step ensured that hospitals would be able to use the donated ventilators for patients and that the machines would not sit around unused.
Exactly. Moreover, all hospitals were given exact specifications of Resmed & Philips ventilators before delivery & all confirmed they would be critical.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 2, 2020
One of Musk’s requests and requirements for hospitals that reached out to Tesla in the time of need was that “vents are needed immediately for patients, not stored in a warehouse.” The panic was one of the reasons hospitals were not able to treat patients properly, as fear caused the act of hoarding the machines, which in turn led to some hospitals having too many ventilators, many of them being unused.
Tesla has donated 1,200 units to the city of Los Angeles and 40 units to the hospital in Queens, New York. The electric automaker will soon open the doors to both its Fremont production facility in California, and Giga New York in Buffalo to allow Medtronics to produce some of its highest-volume products.
Musk’s generosity has not gone unnoticed as political figures have appreciated the Tesla CEO’s efforts. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and California Governor Gavin Newsom have both extended appreciation to Musk after the donation of these machines. Newsom called Musk’s donations “a heroic effort.”