Elon Musk’s fan gift can do more harm than good.
After weeks of brushing COVID-19 pandemic as “stupid”, billionaire founder Tesla earlier this week ad he had 1,000 “FDA approved ventilators” and ended up donating 40 to the New York hospital system. Except that the devices Musk donated are not powerful enough to be used in the ICU, and health officials have in fact warned against using them on COVID-19 patients as they could spread the virus further.
What Musk bought and donated to New York hospitals was BiPAP machines made by ResMed, a Photo shared by the hospital system reveals. ResMed CEO Mick Farrell later confirmed to MusBC the purchase of 1,000 5-year-old “non-invasive two-stage ventilators” known as BiPAP from CNBC, and said it was “fantastic” Tesla can transport the ResMed product as it did.
But hospitals are far more desperate for more invasive ventilators than BiPAP and CPAP devices, which are commonly used to treat sleep apnea – many doctors don’t even call them “ventilators.” the Los Angeles Times“Russ Mitchell reports. In fact, CPAP devices may have only helped spread COVID-19 to the nursing home outside of Seattle, which was the center of the first coronavirus outbreak in the United States, reports NPR. These machines can “possibly increase the spread of infectious diseases by aerosolizing the virus,” writes NPR. Health officials in King County, Washington have since warned against using CPAP machines on patients with coronavirus, as did the American Society of Anesthesiologists in February .
Which could really help, added Farrell to CNBC, if Musk’s Tesla could produce and donate lithium-ion batteries – ResMed can use them to make invasive ventilators that hospitals really need.
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