Can Breast Pumps be the Answer to Ventilator Shortages?

Can Breast Pumps be the Answer to Ventilator Shortages?

Engineers from Maryland are building ventilators out of commonly available breast pumps.  They have literally reversed engineered the device.  I like to say the BEST ideas are “Simple Stupid”!  This is one of the most fantastic examples of this principle.  

As we face new challenges by the COVID-19 virus, new delivery systems and solutions will be created.  Countries have come to see new issues in supply chain, healthcare systems, manufacturing capabilities and related challenges.

We see scientist, professionals, academics and amateurs, all engaged with seeing solutions to these challenging times caused by the coronavirus.  The following exert from the article is very interesting.

“”A group of engineers in Maryland (L-R: Alex Scott, Brandi Gerstner, and Rachel LaBatt; not pictured: Grant Gerstner) are repurposing breast pumps as ventilators for COVID-19 patients. (Photo: Courtesy of Rachel LaBatt)

U.S. hospitals are desperate to obtain ventilators for coronavirus patients who have developed acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) — a cruel outcome in the COVID-19 fight. To shore up the country’s ventilator supply, some doctors are now remodeling sleep apnea machinesas an absolute last resort,” which could allow two patients to share one ventilator. However, engineers in Maryland have a cheaper substitute for the breathing machines: Breast pumps.

The concept materialized when engineer Brandi Gerstner found a $200 Spectra breast pump in her basement. “[A breast pump] does pulsing intervals. It is a sanitize-able biomedical device that’s approved by the [FDA]…You know they’re reliable, they’ve been used by moms everywhere for decades. What if I could reverse it?” Brandi told Southern Maryland news outlet The Bay Net. “What if I could make it blow rather than suck? And so I grabbed my old one from the basement, grabbed a screwdriver and an X-Acto knife… Sure enough, you can turn it around very, very easily.””

These engineers are to be commended for their outstanding “out of the box” thinking

Read the article in full: