CLEVELAND, Ohio (WDTN) – The most critical equipment shortage during the global COVID-19 outbreak has been ventilators, according to the New England Journal of Medicine.
Ventilators are primarily used on patients who cannot breathe on their own and require critical care. COVID-19 has been classified as viral pneumonia by physicians at the Harvard Medical School attacking the respiratory systems of those who get it. With one in five people infected by the virus requiring hospital care, the need for ventilators has exploded with countries scrambling to find enough ventilators to take care of patients. CNN reports Sudan, a country of 12 million people, has only four ventilators for the entire population.
President Trump and Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine have called on major manufacturers to start building ventilators. Ford and General Motors have said they’ll have the ability to build them later in the year, but one Cleveland company was praised for designing and building its own ventilator within a month of the government’s call for help.
Dan T. Moore Company is a family business. Its latest ventures have been manufacturing automotive and aerospace parts along with helmets for the military. After the head of Cleveland non-profit MedWorks asked manufacturers to look at designing their own ventilator, two manufacturing engineers for Moore’s company came up with a design within a week.
“Being a small company a sense of urgency is how we get business,” Windsor Ford said, VP of Acquisitions and New Ventures for SecondBreath. “We respond quickly, we solve problems and we get it done quickly. We have the best people in the business to make something like this happen.”
Ford said he contacted the Federal Drug Administration and found a contact with immediate interest. The person gave Ford their personal cell phone number, while groups like The Cleveland Foundation gave funds to help get the ventilators going. On April 13, the project received FDA approval and the company began producing last week under the name of SecondBreath LLC.
The SecondBreath ventilator isn’t based on the traditional ventilator design.
“What we did was take a bag valve, used in resusciating people in ambulances and for moving patients in hospitals,” Ford said. “We came up with the device that was built around it. We know this internal device was something that was FDA approved and we could build based off it. It can deliver compressions at correct rates and we made it simple. A lot of companies and people are making simlar stuff and we happened to be the first to have things fall into place.”
U.S. Senator Rob Portman hailed the company and the ventilator in an interview with WDTN.com on April 14.
“They came up with a design that was really liked by the healthcare people,” Portman said. “They’re going to be building these and sending them around the country. It’s cool because Ohioans, we make a lot of stuff. There’s a lot of things we can do here.”
Ford said the company is working on designs for second and third-generation versions of its ventilators. The company plans on developing those and getting FDA approval as soon as possible.
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