As health care facilities across the globe continue to grapple with a general shortage of supplies to help them with the devastating coronavirus pandemic, one doctor in Canada has managed to use a bit of creativity, ingenuity, and an idea inspired by YouTube to help future patients.
Dr. Alain Gaithier, an anesthetist at the Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital in Ontario, was worried about the possibility that his rural hospital’s one ventilator would hardly be able to carry the load that the CoViD-19 outbreak could entail.
So Gauthier, who has a Ph. D. in respiratory mechanics, borrowed an idea conceived by American doctors Greg Neyman and Charlene Babcock in 2006 to double the capacity of a single ventilator. According to CBC the idea was tested successfully following the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting. Babcock eventually created a how-to video explaining how the DIY “upgrade” works.
In just ten minutes, Gauthier used extra tubing to double the number of patients that could be ventilated at the hospital.
The way the system works is that the two patients simultaneously connected to the ventilator must be roughly the same size and with the same lung capacity. Multiple hoses are then attached to the one ventilator, which is then run at several times its normal power.
While imperfect, Gauthier said that “if it comes to last resort, I’m prepared to use it.”
Gauthier’s colleague, Alan Drummond, excitedly shared images of the rigged ventilator on Twitter, jokingly calling Gauthier “an evil genius.” He wrote:
“So in ten minutes the evil genius who is one of our GP anesthetists (with a PhD in diaphragmatic mechanics) increased our rural hospitals ventilator capacity from one to nine!!!”
So in ten minutes the evil genius who is one of our GP anaesthetists (with a PhD in diaphragmatic mechanics) increased our rural hospitals ventilator capacity from one to nine!!! pic.twitter.com/yNmuCCDbWd
— alan drummond (@alandrummond2) March 17, 2020
Drummond, an emergency physician at the hospital, also said that he broke social distancing protocol to give his colleague a big hug.
Continuing, Musk noted that perhaps it could one day lead to a more effective system to ensure that patients breathe. He added:
“A single computer, pump & pressure accumulator would be fine for many patients, but ideally individual valves per patient to personalize care & avoid cross-flow risk.”
A single computer, pump & pressure accumulator would be fine for many patients, but ideally individual valves per patient to personalize care & avoid cross-flow risk
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 20, 2020
However, for Gauthier his newfound fame is the last thing that concerns him in a rural region where many of the 60,000 people served by the hospital are older or have such conditions as diabetes and chronic pulmonary disease.
He also doesn’t want credit for his invention.
“A lot of work is being done by pretty much everyone,” he stressed.
Like many health care systems struggling with the outbreak, Gauthier and his coworkers worry that they soon may be forced to choose which critical patients receive a ventilator and which are simply allowed to die—a dilemma that he hopes to avoid with his Gerry-rigged system.
“We are concerned, we’re trying to get ready as much as possible,” Gauthier said.
Grandmother, Age 95, Becomes Oldest Woman in Italy to Recover From Coronavirus
In a stunning example of how wherever there’s life, there’s hope, a 95-year-old Italian grandmother has become the oldest known woman in the country to recover from coronavirus.
Alma Clara Corsini arrived at the Pavulo Hospital in the northern province of Modena on March 5 after suffering from symptoms of the deadly disease.
She was among Italy’s nearly 60,000 people confirmed to have the virus as of Sunday. The country’s north has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic.
Earlier in the week, she confirmed:
“Yes, yes, I’m fine … They were good people who looked after me well.”
“Raccontiamoci quanto di bello la vita ci offre, e ci può offrire, anche in questo momento. Io comincio con la storia della nonna Alma Clara Corsini…”Inviateci e postate dei video, o anche delle fotografie, che abbiano un messaggio POSITIVO e di SPERANZA con #aspettandolalba e #LeParole (così li possiamo trovare).#aspettandolalba #LeParole#speranza
Posted by Massimo Gramellini on Saturday, March 21, 2020
Gazzetta Di Modena reports that she was able to make a healthy recovery without any need for “antiviral therapy,” while her body showed a “great reaction” despite the infection.
Corsini’s good fortune was even shared by Pope Francis, who took to Facebook to post an image of her with members of the medical team that saved her. In the post, the high pontiff wrote:
“In Italy, a 95-year-old granny is the first patient to be cured of coronavirus. Alma Clara Corsini has won this battle for her life to give us hope.”
IMAGEN VIRAL. En Italia un abuelita de 95 años es el primer paciente curado de Coronavirus. Alma Clara Corsini vive ha…
Corsini has since been discharged from the hospital and is back at her home in Fanano.
Over the weekend, no less than 1,400 people died in Italy as the country races to control the horrific spread of the novel virus.
All movement has now been banned inside the country and non-essential businesses shuttered as the country continues to stand firmly as the epicenter of the global crisis, exceeding China’s death toll last week despite its smaller population.
Over 6,500 Italians test positive for Covid-19 every day, with the average age of those dying standing at 78.5 years.
On Sunday, an additional 651 Italians died, bringing the death toll to at least 5,400.