« Misfortune Cookies | Home | The Rings of Earth — Kim Warp »

March 30, 2020

BehindTheMedspeak: Actually, there's no ventilator shortage

Long story short: a ventilator is simply a mechanical device for inflating the lungs via an endotracheal tube.

A person can do it just as well, trust me on this: I did it for 38 years in operating rooms, x-ray and CT suites, outpatient clinics, doctor's offices, and Code Blues.

Remember early computers?

They were women, not machines: 

Screen Shot 2020-03-30 at 8.19.41 AM

Anyone who can make a fist can squeeze a ventilator bag 10 times/minute. 

That's the exact equivalent of a ventilator, but even better: if the person being ventilated can still breathe on their own to any extent, you can assist them by squeezing the bag, whereas a ventilator starts alarming.

March 30, 2020 at 10:01 AM | Permalink


I got the "human computer" connection, but Dave has a good point. Pumping a bag for a solid hour would be very difficult; all day long would be impossible.

Posted by: Luke | Apr 1, 2020 9:51:31 AM

New York state (have to make sure you clarify state, as nobody seems to be able to tell the difference between the city or the state) has that very plan in case they start running out of the automated machines.

Posted by: Rocketboy_X | Mar 30, 2020 9:43:31 PM

If you take your job seriously, as I’m sure you did, you are not doing a lot of other things at the same time that you are being The Human Ventilator. Hard to give medications, chart, change bedding/clothing, assist another caregiver, yada yada yada. If the person you are ventilating is critically ill it is particularly difficult. That’s why ventilators were created in the first place.

Posted by: Dave | Mar 30, 2020 4:10:41 PM

That section on "early computers" (interesting enough per se) SURELY was not meant to appear in this post, which is supposed to treat the currently extremely interesting and vital question of "What is a ventilator?"!

Does what we see here boil down to a real-life instance of the TypePad CMS shockingly breaking down again?

Posted by: MAO | Mar 30, 2020 1:24:54 PM

Post a comment