With infected people figures sky-rocketing, nobody doubts where the Coronavirus crisis is hitting harder: the Intensive Care Units (UCI) in any hospital. Now that we're getting closer to the peak of infection cases, in some countries like in Italy, some ethical questions are being raised when the shortage of basic equipment like ventilators in those ICUs.
Italy is suffering the wreaking havoc of COVID-19 and they even had to build field hospitals to cater to the increasing number of patients in hospitals - and they are starting to have to decide who should be getting ventilators since they do not have enough for everybody. Hard decisions need to be taken with the obvious ethical burden.
Spain is the second hardest-hit country in Europe in terms of the number of cases of Coronavirus cases, which started with some cases imported from Italy, given the strong business and personal bonds. Rapidly, cases grew in Madrid, where half of the cases are happening, followed closely by Catalonia and the Basque Country. Spain is 2 weeks behind Italy, so the Spanish medical authorities can foresee that if the situation goes on like it is now, we'll be in the same situation as in Italy.
Therefore, different initiatives are looking for medical solutions all around the world. And one of them may have found a solution to prevent the shortage of ventilators for the ICUs: a 3D printed Field Ventilator medically approved and suitable for industrialization, which is being developed in Spain.
(Team who has designed the Leitat 1 / Image: ACN)
Two Catalan hospitals, Consorci Sanitari de Terrassa (CST) and Hospital Parc Taulí de Sabadell (Barcelona) have teamed up with Consorci de la Zona Franca de Barcelona (CZFB), Seat, HP and Leitat Technological Centre (Tecnio) to develop device that is built with 3D printing and weekly production of these units is estimated to be between 50 to 100 units. The design has been developed by the Leitat Engineer Magí Galindo and medically approved by Dr. Lluís Blanch, who is the Director of Innovation from Hospital Parc Taulí de Sabadell, who is an expert in mechanical ventilation.
The production is starting as we speak and other companies like Airbus and Navantia are joining this initiative - but also they'll be looking for the support of makers communities so that they can increase production just in a few days.
Good news in times of Coronavirus and great engineering teamwork!