Fear of Ventilator Shortage Prompts Search, New Methods

Already one hospital is finding a way to boost its resources.

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In a race before a possible spike in coronavirus patients, Saimir Sharofi, director of Respiratory Services, showed us how Hartford Hospital is getting ready.

Amid fears of a national shortage of ventilators, staff are now finding a way to hook up two people to the same machine.

“We have split up the tubing at the source, the ventilator. And each patient is safe and use this filter so nothing moves from one patient to another,” said Sharofi.

Hartford HealthCare
Hartford Hospital says patients who are struggling to breathe can end up needing this help for five to 12 days.

“The right-hand side, the blue tubing, sends the breath to the patient. The white tubing, the exhalation, is where the patient exhales through that again goes to the vent, through filters and then gets exhaled out,” said Sharofi.

But even this new, innovative method might not be enough to treat all the potential coronavirus patients who need a ventilator.

“It is a running tally. We have hundreds and hundreds. We asked for an additional thousand ventilators just a couple of days ago,” said Renee D. Coleman-Mitchell, State Public Health Commissioner.

The state is scrambling to find more, as well as retrofit current ones.

Coleman-Mitchell explained the search during a news conference with Gov. Ned Lamont on Tuesday.

“We’re getting loaners. We’re getting donations for ventilators which is a good thing. And right now we put together a task force at the department to address the types of ventilators that we’re getting so we can make sure they are functional and that they are safe. And so the numbers continue to grow,” said Coleman-Mitchell.

Hartford Hospital says the dual ventilator setup is not being used now.

They just want to be ready for an emergency situation, though they are hopeful they don’t get to that point.

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