There aren't enough ventilators in the US to treat the growing number of COVID-19 patients and this crisis will only worsen as the number of coronavirus cases continue to rise across the country.

As authorities struggle to keep up with the increasing demand of ventilators, a health care provider from South Carolina has created a device that allows a single ventilator to support up to four patients at a time.

A 3D-printable ventilation expansion splitter

Vesper
Prisma Health

Prisma Health, the state's largest health care provider, announced in a press release that it has designed a simple three-way connector called Vesper or ventilation expansion splitter that quadruples the capacity of a single ventilator allowing it to be used by as many as four patients at a time.

The device attaches to the ventilator and splits out the oxygen to patients. It also allows the flow of oxygen to be adjusted and optimised for each person. The device was created last week and has already received approval for use by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) but only as a last resort measure. This means that the device can only be used by institutions in emergency situations where ventilators have already been exhausted, and no other supply or alternative is available in order to preserve the life of patients.

The Vesper can be produced by anybody with access to a 3D printer and hospitals can apply for access to the free source code and printing specifications for the device by registering here. Priority will be given to areas of the country where hospitals are close to or have already exceeded their current ventilator capacity.

Shortage of ventilators in the US

Vesper
Prisma Health

Ventilators have become a necessity when it comes to saving the lives of infected patients in critical condition, but there is a growing shortage of the bedside machines in hospitals in the US as the COVID-19 pandemic spreads rampantly across the country and the world. The US now has more than 104,000 confirmed cases and the death toll has crossed 1,700, according to the John Hopkins University.

As COVID-19 patients often require breathing support as their lungs are weakened by the virus, companies like Tesla, Apple, Ford, and General Motors are helping out with the production of ventilators in the country. The Vesper, therefore, is a blessing in disguise for hospitals that don't have enough ventilators and can help save lives not only in the country but across the globe.