Experts provide recommendations in response to the global ventilator shortage

Mechanical ventilators are important medical equipment that provide life-saving respiratory support for patients with moderate to severe COVID-19. While the use of ventilators could prevent as many as tens of thousands of deaths in well-resourced countries and millions in low- and middle-income countries, the shortage of ventilators across the globe is a major and complex challenge.

As efforts are made to quickly scale-up ventilator production and expedite regulatory processes, surgeons Dr. Harvey Hawes and Dr. Abdullah Saleh brought together a diverse multidisciplinary team of experts including Nancy Paris, BCIT Director of MAKE+ and Product and Process Applied Research Team, in publishing a white paper that provides strategic recommendations on how to ethically respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and increase the world’s accessibility to mechanical ventilation.

The primary focus of this paper, Recommendations for the Strategic Response to the Global Ventilator Shortage, is to address the importance of a coordinated international response in responding to the global ventilator shortage as there is a high risk of causing harm, duplicating efforts, depleting limited resources, overwhelming manufacturing capacities, backlogging regulatory systems, and producing substandard ventilators that could lead to deaths.

“My involvement in this paper stemmed from an interest in global health and expertise in designing medical devices. Combining this with the BCIT MAKE+ team’s expertise and certification to ISO 13485 Quality Management System for Medical Device Manufacturers, I was able to contribute from the design control process perspective,” explained Nancy. “It is exciting to discuss innovation in design of medical equipment but it is critical that the design is done right. This involves a lot of hard work and understanding, especially for manufacturers who are responsible for creating a safe ventilator that serves its purpose.”

Authors of this paper, including doctors, engineers, ethicists, health economists, and medical device manufacturers, invite the public to read, share, comment, and use this paper as a starting point for discussions on increasing access to ventilators during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the paper:

Note to media: If you’d like to schedule an interview with Dr. Harvey Hawes or Nancy Paris, please contact Amy Chen, 778-384-7245.

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