New York hospital ready to split ventilators among patients: report

New York hospital ready to split ventilators among patients: report
© Getty Images

A New York hospital has begun splitting ventilators to use on two patients instead of one, according to The New York Times, a sign of the dire shortage of ventilators in the state as the coronavirus spreads.

Jeremy Beitler, a doctor at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, told the Times that the hospital has not yet run out of ventilators but is preparing for that possibility by trying the splitting technique now before they “have absolutely no choice.”

A shortage of ventilators, machines that allow seriously ill patients to breathe and stay alive, is one of the top concerns of the coronavirus crisis.

ADVERTISEMENT

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has been warning daily of the state's shortage of ventilators and urging President TrumpDonald John TrumpMulvaney: 'We've overreacted a little bit' to coronavirus Former CBS News president: Most major cable news outlets 'unrelentingly liberal' in 'fear and loathing' of Trump An old man like me should be made more vulnerable to death by COVID-19 MORE to use his powers under the Defense Production Act to direct manufacturers to ramp up production.

Cuomo said on Wednesday that the state needs 30,000 ventilators by the time the peak of the crisis hits in as soon as 14 days, but that it only has 11,000.

Trump told Fox News host Sean HannitySean Patrick HannityTrump lashes out at Fox News after poll shows him trailing Biden Trump complains Fox News is 'doing nothing to help' him get reelected Mark Cuban: Trump 'always plays the victim card' MORE on Thursday night that he does not believe the state actually needs that many, questioning how bad the ventilator shortage really is.

"I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators," Trump said. "You know, you go into major hospitals, sometimes they’ll have two ventilators. And now all of a sudden they're saying, 'Can we order 30,000 ventilators?'"

Cuomo has said the state is looking at splitting ventilators as one option to try to increase supply.

New York-Presbyterian is not using split ventilators for all patients, the Times reported, given that sometimes two patients need significantly different settings on the machine.

In a sign more hospitals could try the technique, a South Carolina company, Prisma Health, received approval this week from the Food and Drug Administration for a device that can split a ventilator among as many as four patients.