PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – Leaders in other parts of the country fear there might not be enough ventilators for COVID-19 patients.
So, a Portland doctor and his team are using 3D printers to create ventilators that cost less than $10.
3D printers are nothing new to Dr. Albert Chi, an associate professor of surgery at Oregon Health & Science University.
“I think I created my first prosthetic back in 2013,” he said.
But he’s never used them like this before.
“Our lab was completely excited for this challenge,” Chi said.
As news spread that the country could run out of ventilators, Dr. Chi and his team got to work, printing a ventilator that can fit in your pocket.
“This ventilator actually requires no electronics. It can be assembled with off-the-shelf hardware components, doesn’t require any custom manufacturing, and it’s capable of not only basic ventilation, but advanced ventilation as well,” Chi said.
The device just hooks up to standard oxygen tanks found at most hospitals and clinics.
And this product can be created for less than $10.
Dr. Chi says they have now submitted it to the FDA for emergency authorization and hope to get it out to hospitals here in America and around the world.
“It just felt like our lab was meant to do this and we accepted the challenge and four weeks later, we were applying to the FDA,” he said.
Chi doesn’t know exactly when this product could be approved by the FDA but says he wants to get it out in any way possible, whether that means sending hospitals the printing file or completing the product to send out.
And he says he doesn’t want anyone paying a dime for this potentially life-saving device.
“The goal is to provide this for no cost at all. Absolutely free,” Chi said.
He says that while the numbers in many states seem to be stabilizing, he knows a spike in cases could come again and these ventilators could be necessary.
Chi urges people not to relax on social distancing guidelines and to stay safe.
“I know things are kind of plateauing, but this pandemic could have a second wave. Just really stress the social distancing and stay-at-home orders,” he said.
Dr. Chi hopes these ventilators can be useful in some developing countries that are starting to see spikes of coronavirus cases.
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