Elon Musk’s ‘Ventilators’ Arrived at Hospitals — With Some Assembly Required
Hospitals across the U.S. say they were grateful to receive bulk donations of breathing machines fromTesla Inc.’s Elon Musk at the apex of the Covid-19 crisis — even if they fell short of the high-end ventilators that were most in need.
At Mount Sinai Health System in New York City, for example, Tesla donated about 200 bi-level positive airway pressure machines, or BiPAPs, in late March. While the devices can help patients in respiratory distress, they’re more commonly used in the home to treat sleep apnea, and aren’t as powerful as the ventilators used to treat the sickest patients in intensive care units.
While Musktweeted March 23 that Tesla had purchased ventilators from China and would distribute them to medical facilities across the country, what hospitals from New York to California say they received were BiPAP machines. The chief executive officer has responded to criticism of his contributions by clarifying that thevast majority of what the company had donated were the cheaper, less-powerful devices.
Mount Sinai relied on an ingenious team of medical students tomodify the machines in a moment of crisis. “Med students were able to MacGyver these into hospital ventilators by souping up the home devices to meet the needs of Covid patients,” said Robert Freeman, vice president of clinical innovation at Mount Sinai Health System.
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