Dr. Alain Gauthier, an anesthetist in Canada, has expertly recrafted a single ventilator to double its capacity in an attempt to deal with an influx of patients needing ventilators that are simply not available. Dr. Gauthier’s medical facility, as many facilities globally are, is grappling with a shortage of both medical supplies and personnel.
Ventilators are at a shortage, which has dangerous implications for those patients who depend on them to save their lives. There is widespread fear that the pace of the virus will outpace the capabilities of the supplies and ventilators available, particularly in rural or underfunded areas. There is also concern that there will come a time where medics have to choose who receives the treatment and machines and who doesn’t.
Dr. Gauthier turned to YouTube to seek an inventive way to improve the situation. This ventilator doubling technique had been used once successfully in Las Vegas following the tragic 2017 mass shooting. Dr. Gauthier expertly crafted the new ventilator so that it would be able to work on several patients at once.
Now, two patients can be connected to the ventilator at the same time through the addition of extra tubing. The patients must have similar lung capacities in order for this to work. By attaching multiple hoses to the single ventilator, Dr. Gauthier can use the single ventilator on several patients at once.
One of his colleagues excitedly announced:
“So in ten minutes the evil genius who is one of our GP anesthetists (with a PhD in diaphragmatic mechanics) increased our rural hospital’s ventilator capacity from one to nine!!!”
So in ten minutes the evil genius who is one of our GP anaesthetists (with a PhD in diaphragmatic mechanics) increased our rural hospitals ventilator capacity from one to nine!!! pic.twitter.com/yNmuCCDbWd
— alan drummond (@alandrummond2) March 17, 2020
Gauthier’s work even earned praise from Elon Musk, who spoke out about it on twitter. Musk also offered that Gauthier’s invention could lead to further developments in ventilator technology down the road in terms of individualization of treatment and avoidance of cross flow risk.
Gauthier did not create this for fame or attention. He is still very worried about the possibility that there will not be enough ventilator spots for all of his patients, and that he will begin to have to make difficult decisions as to who receives those spots. Gauthier and all of the medical professionals working tirelessly through this pandemic deserve our utmost gratitude.
Faced with a situation that nobody saw coming, our medical professionals are finding solutions everywhere to ensure that it does not come to the decision of who gets treatment and who doesn’t.