Business Insider Edition

Covid-19: Rich Americans are trying to buy their own personal ventilators despite a national shortage

Mia Jankowicz , Business Insider US
 Mar 21, 2020, 12:43 PM
VOCSN ventilator with patient and caregiver
Chris Brooks/Ventec
  • Some wealthy Americans are trying to buy personal ventilators in case hospital systems fail in the coronavirus crisis, The New York Times reported.
  • Demand for ventilators, which are a key part of treating severe cases of the dies ease COVID-19, has surged globally.
  • President Trump announced on Wednesday that "thousands and thousands" of machines have been ordered.
  • But manufacturers are facing a backlog just to keep up with demand, the NYT reported.
  • One company which produces personal-sized ventilators said it will not take individual orders, despite the requests from wealthy buyers, NBC News reported.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

A manufacturer of ventilators which can treat patients with COVID-19 said he wealth buyers have asked to buy their own machines from him, according to the New York Times.

Demand for all types of ventilator is soaring as governments race to equip their hospitals for anticipated demand in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

Ventilators assist patients who lose lung function - a key complication of severe COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus.

Chris Kiple is CEO of Ventec, a Seattle-based manufacturer that is one of many companies racing to satisfy global demand. He told the Times: "I can tell you with a 100 percent confidence that every single manufacturer is facing a backlog right now."

On Wednesday, President Trump told reporters the government was ordering "thousands and thousands" of ventilators to boost the national supply. But the US is facing a potential shortage of the life-saving equipment, as Business Insider's Lydia Ramsey reported.

Experts predicted that 70% of Americans could be infected with COVID-19 if no treatment is found, as Business Insider's Aylin Woodward and Anna Medaris Miller reported. The pandemic threatens to stretch the US hospital system to its limit, as Business Insider's Lydia Ramsey reported.

The rich would-be buyers approaching Ventec - whom Kiple did not name - wanted the machines as a fallback if the US hospital system failed, the Times reported.

One of the key features of one of Ventec's models, the VOCSN, is that it is a portable device that can be operated by one person, rather than needing a team of medical staff.

Mark Suhoo, marketing and communications VP at Ventec, said in an emailed statement to Business Insider: "A typical ICU ventilator requires three primary operators: a critical care doctor, respiratory therapist, and a nurse and additional devices."

"VOCSN combines all of 5 of these devices into a single, portable device that is easy to use, thus reducing the space, staff and supplies needed to manage patients on a ventilator."

At present, however, Kiple said that at present the company has decided not to accept individual orders, according to NBC News.

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