Medical ventilator and CPAP

To the editor:

I am hearing in the news that the (potentially) upcoming bottleneck in the care of COVID-19 patients will be the lack of medical ventilators. I wonder if the following idea might have any use in an emergency.

A CPAP machine in some ways does what a medical ventilator does. There are orders of magnitude more CPAP machines located right here in the Tri-Lakes area than medical ventilators in the hospital. I imagine a CPAP can be jury-rigged with a cheapo ($10 on eBay) pulse-ox pocket tester. A simple micro-controller from eBay for about $7 can control such a kluge efficiently: essentially a PID-based feedback system. The micro-controller runs off two AA batteries; the pulse-ox thing runs off one or two AAA batteries. Lots of duct tape and hot glue, but it should work (in theory).

Yes, sounds nuts and probably would not pass FDA approval. But perhaps worth looking into now before a potential need arises?

Just a thought.

Ira Weinberg

Saranac Lake


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