UMMC builds ventilators for COVID-19 pandemic response


JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Dr. Charles Robertson, an assistant professor of anesthesiology at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, has built about 170 ventilators of his own design to use in the event of a shortage amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I was watching the coronavirus spread in China during January, then by the time February came and cases started increasing in South Korea, Italy and Iran, I knew it was coming to the United States, and that if enough people became sick, we may not have enough ventilators,” Robertson said

The Robertson Ventilators are made from garden hose sections, adapters, valves, a solenoid and a lamp timer, all of which can be bought at a hardware store or online. The parts cost less than 100 dollars per ventilator and can be assembled in less than an hour. The ventilator works when plugged into the standard oxygen line in a hospital room, meaning it can be used in more locations than a standard ventilator.

Robertson and a team of UMMC certified registered nurse anesthetists have built about 170 ventilators to augment the Medical Center’s existing supply of 150 hospital ventilators.

“This device is for extreme use situations during a pandemic,” Robertson said. “We would only be using these ventilators if every single hospital ventilator is in use and we have patients that are about to die because of that.”

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