On Tuesday, GE Healthcare and Ford Motor Company announced plans to work together to scale up the production of ventilators — a move aimed to arm clinicians with vital medical equipment to treat patients with COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the new coronavirus. Equipped with the essential functions required to treat COVID-19, the new system will be built specifically to address the urgent needs of the pandemic.
Severe COVID-19 cases can cause the lungs to fill up with fluid, meaning patients need the mechanical breathing assistance of a ventilator. “In the face of a global shortage, American industries can step up and quickly produce ventilators,” Daniel M. Horn Massachusetts General Hospital physician, wrote in The New York Times on Sunday.
That’s what GE and Ford are doing — with Ford providing technical and production expertise to manufacture a simplified design of GE Healthcare’s existing ventilator. In alignment with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, GE Healthcare is also advising its existing anesthesia customers on how their anesthesia devices can be used for ventilation.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak began, GE Healthcare has doubled its capacity of ventilator production and has plans to double it again by midyear to address unprecedented demand — independent of the collaboration with Ford. “We are encouraged by how quickly companies from across industries have mobilized to address the growing challenge we collectively face from COVID-19,” said Kieran Murphy, president and CEO of GE Healthcare, which has already announced plans to add production lines, hire workers and expand output to help give hospitals and medics the tools they need to diagnose and care for patients suffering from COVID-19. “We continue to work with associations, governments and other stakeholders, bringing our clinical and technical expertise to collaborations with companies like Ford to urgently support customers as they meet patient needs.”
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