Ventilators in critical shortage in New York City: 3 updates

Maia Anderson - Print  | 

Ventilators, the medical devices used to help patients with severe COVID-19 infections breathe, are in severe shortages around the country as hospitals struggle to meet increased demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Three recent stories on the ventilator shortage in New York — one of the hardest-hit states with 130,689 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of 3 p.m. CT on April 6:

  1. Device manufacturers still can't keep up with demand
    Increased manufacturing efforts aren't moving fast enough to keep up with the U.S. demand for ventilators, The Wall Street Journal reported.

    Traditional medical devicemakers, such as Medtronic, are more than doubling their weekly output, and companies that don't typically make ventilators, such as Ford Motor and General Electric, have promised to make thousands of ventilators.

    But hospitals will be about 25,000 ventilators short of what they need when the surge in COVID-19 patients hits around the middle of this month, Neil Carpenter, a consultant for Array Advisors told the Journal.

  2. NYU Langone telling physicians to decide which patients should get ventilators, against state guidelines
    NYU Langone Health is advising emergency room physicians to "think more critically" about which patients get ventilators, though New York state guidelines advise against physicians making such life-or-death decisions for their own patients, the Journal reported. 

    Robert Femia, who heads the department of emergency medicine, told ER physicians they have the "sole discretion" to place patients on ventilators, according to the Journal.

    To prevent conflicts of interest, the state's guidelines recommend hospitals appoint a triage officer to make decisions when rationing is necessary.

    A spokesperson from NYU Langone told the Journal the hospital hasn't reached the point of rationing ventilators for COVID-19 patients. 

  3. New York may run out of ventilators in the next few days
    New York City may run out of ventilators this week, the Journal reported.

    New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told the Journal that as of April 5, the city has about 4,000 patients on ventilators and expects another 1,000 in the coming days.

    The city needs 1,000 to 1,500 more ventilators to avoid running out by April 8, the Journal reported.

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