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Should factories continue making ventilators?

Posted

On April 8, General Motors received a contract to build 30,000 ventilators.
On 4/28/2020, US senator Chris Van Hollen requested GM to reopen one of its other (closed) plants for the purpose of making ventilators.

My question is, should these big factories continue to manufacture ventilators, even after the crisis is over?

Emergent, RN

Specializes in ER. Has 28 years experience.

I thought that the new protocols contraindicate widespread use of ventilators for this virus. The statistics point to the fact that approximately 90% of those with covid-19 put on a ventilator die anyways

emtb2rn, BSN, RN, EMT-B

Specializes in Emergency. Has 21 years experience.

Maybe so, but that 10% which survives is probably happy they were on a vent.

On a separate note, all the regular in-house vents in my facility are in use We’re using portable vents in the ed. And yeah, ICU full so we’re holding in the ed. A-lines & trains of four.

Uroboros, APRN

Specializes in Advanced Practice Critical Care and Family Nursing. Has 17 years experience.

The short answer, yes. In a country where the average household has 10 smartphones we should never have a ventilator shortage, ever. There will be a second wave when seasonal flu hits this fall, and we are still 12-18 months away from vaccination or strong evidence based treatment. Ventilator mortality rates will dramatically decline as our treatments improve or simply become available. In the meantime it's our duty to make every effort to prepare ourselves, and assist less fortunate countries. Let's keep those GM workers busy, and after-all, we could do with a few less SUVs anyway 😉

InTheLongRun

Has 15 years experience.

11 hours ago, Emergent said:

I thought that the new protocols contraindicate widespread use of ventilators for this virus. The statistics point to the fact that approximately 90% of those with covid-19 put on a ventilator die anyways

Got a link?

9 hours ago, mja79 said:

The short answer, yes. In a country where the average household has 10 smartphones we should never have a ventilator shortage, ever. There will be a second wave when seasonal flu hits this fall, and we are still 12-18 months away from vaccination or strong evidence based treatment. Ventilator mortality rates will dramatically decline as our treatments improve or simply become available. In the meantime it's our duty to make every effort to prepare ourselves, and assist less fortunate countries. Let's keep those GM workers busy, and after-all, we could do with a few less SUVs anyway 😉

I fear there's going to be a second wave sooner than that at least in my neck of the woods.

InTheLongRun

Has 15 years experience.

Yes they should. The virus isn't going anywhere and furthermore for many people it does a lot of lung damage they have to live with.

adventure_rn, BSN

Specializes in NICU, PICU.

It seems like it's less important now that we've flattened the curve. The whole point of flattening the curve isn't to decrease the total number of cases; rather, it's to spread out the cases over a longer period of time so that you don't run out of healthcare equipment.

If every city had been like NYC with giant spikes in cases and huge shortages, then yes, there'd be a need for more vents. However, since most places are seeing a more gradual 'surge,' there's less of a risk of running out. Even if there's a second surge of patients once businesses reopen, it still may not be enough to surpass the threshold of running out of equipment.

Perhaps more importantly, what will the delay look like? It's quite possible that these fleets won't be available for use until long after we've gotten the spread of the outbreak under control (to the point where the virus is still spreading, but the curve is flat enough that we don't run out of vents).

Our healthcare system already wastes a ton of money; we don't need a bunch of extra vents in a supply closet gathering dust. Vent technology itself has a lifespan, and they become obsolete in a surprisingly short period of time. It reminds me of the national stockpile of N95s that were found to have dry-rotted elastic; just because you stockpile something now doesn't necessarily mean that it will do you any good later.

Kitiger, RN

Specializes in Private Duty Pediatrics. Has 42 years experience.

Do other countries have enough vents?

We need to keep producing ventilators and PPE until we have a vaccine and it's widely available. A country like the US should NEVER be short of basic medical supplies again. Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Any equipment that becomes outdated can be sold or donated to third world countries at a later time, perhaps 2025. A national stockpile of medical supplies should be constantly replenished, in case some other emergency, which WILL happen sooner or later. We also need another two hospital ships like the Comfort and Mercy. This will cost a great deal of money, but it will be cheaper than playing catch up.