Polish engineers have designed a highly affordable 3D-printed ventilator they say is meant to help those suffering from the coronavirus. The company responsible for the “printable” ventilator, Urbicum from Kraków, has now published instructions on their website so that anyone from the public can create their own version of the ventilator for free.
The initiative was labeled with the phrase “from Poland with love”. Mateusz Janowski of Urbicum says that the total cost of components which are necessary to print an open-source ventilator should not exceed €44, meaning that many poorer countries and facilities running short on ventilators could soon have access to the life-saving medical product.
A ventilator, also known as an “artificial lung”, is a machine that essentially helps a patient breathe when they are unable to do so effectively on their own. Patients who suffer from COVID-19 the most often struggle with pneumonia or breathing inefficiency due to their lungs filling with fluid, which is when a ventilator becomes necessary to help their lungs deliver oxygen to their blood.
There has been an increasing lack of the devices. Italian doctor Gaj Peleg emphasized that due to their limited number in Northern Italy, patients over 60 years cannot receive a ventilator, which in many cases amounts to a death sentence.