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FDA approves “Y” device to split one ventilator between multiple patients

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Greenville, SC (WEEK) -- As hospitals across the nation are running out of ventilators to treat COVID-19 patients, a hospital in South Carolina says they have a solution.

The FDA has given emergency approval to a device that allows one ventilator to be used for as many as four patients. It's called the "VESper."

The small, 3D printed device was invented by an ER doctor and her husband.

Prisma Health says, during simulations, the device was able to easily deliver the right breathing parameters for multiple patients on the same ventilator.

However, Prisma adds that "it is important to match the clinical characteristics of the patients connected to a single machine as the machine will deliver the same settings such as oxygen concentration, amount of air in each breath and the pressure of the air delivered."

The hospital system says most hospitals will be able to make the "Y" device themselves, but they're also working with major manufacturers to mass produce and ship it to COVID-19 "hot spots" as designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The FDA grants emergency use authorization in situations like the coronavirus pandemic to offer critical access to medical devices that have not gone through normal approval.

Learn more about the VESper here.

Photo courtesy Prisma Health

Sheridan Swathwood

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