New York to allow ventilator-sharing, despite misgivings from experts

For days, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been saying the state is considering ventilator-sharing to address the shortage of devices facing its hospitals — and now New York hospitals can begin using that strategy, according to ABC News.

New York City-based NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital developed a protocol to use one ventilator on two patients, which has been approved by the New York's health department. 

The idea has been criticized by medical professionals. A group of organizations, including the Society of Critical Care Medicine and American Association for Respiratory Care, issued a joint statement saying that "sharing mechanical ventilators should not be attempted because it cannot be done safely with current equipment." 

Using one ventilator for more than one COVID-19 patient could lead to poor outcomes and high death rates.

Becker's recently spoke with seven pulmonology experts, all of whom said the strategy was possible but not ideal.

Mr. Cuomo echoed this sentiment, saying the strategy was "not ideal, but workable," ABC News reports. But the state could need as many as 30,000 ventilators in the next few weeks as COVID-19 cases soar in the state.

In a news briefing March 25, Mr. Cuomo said the state had 4,000 ventilators and had purchased an additional 7,000.

"Non-COVID patients are normally on ventilators for three to four days. COVID patients are on ventilators for 11 to 21 days. You don't have the same turnaround," Mr. Cuomo said, according to ABC News.

Other states and hospitals exploring the idea in anticipation of a heavy influx of COVID-19 patients. Tufts University Medical Center in Boston is working to develop a protocol that could enable the use of one ventilator on up to four patients at once.

More articles on public health:
Is ventilator-sharing a good idea? Pulmonology experts weigh in
'We're going to be coding dead people': Hospitals consider do-not-resuscitate order for all COVID-19 patients
COVID-19 vs. SARS: How the outbreaks compare

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