I am an engineer and not a health care professional, so I'd appreciate some feedback from people on the medical side. There is widespread concern about the shortage of ventilators, and also an observation that the ventilators themselves can cause damage (e.g. barotrauma, intubation-related infections). Are there reasons the much older, but proven (at least in the case of polio) iron lung technology cannot be used? It does not require intubation and is apparently less stressful on the lungs.
"Unlike ventilators, the exovent doesn't require intubation and is much simpler in design and operation. According to the consortium responsible for its design, patients can remain awake, take medications, eat and drink, and talk to their loved ones on the phone. In addition, the machine improves heart efficiency by 25 percent over conventional ventilators, which can adversely affect cardiac functions."
"This study suggests that iron lung ventilation is as effective as invasive mechanical ventilation in improving gas exchange in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients with acute respiratory failure, and is associated with a tendency towards a lower rate of major complications."