Some ultra-wealthy Americans are looking into whether they can buy their own personal ventilators to turn their homes into makeshift ICU offices in preparation for the spread of the coronavirus, a new report claims.
Dr. Ronald Primas, who serves as a "medical concierge" in Manhattan for some of the most well-connected New Yorkers, said that he has had to turn away some people looking to bring ventilators into their homes in the Hamptons. Dr. Primas told the New York Post that he's had to break the news to the wealthy New Yorkers that they just won't be able to get their own personal ventilators, especially amid a national shortage of them.
"There's a lot of hysteria going on and I can understand their fears," Dr. Primas said.
"I tell them that not everyone will need a ventilator, that there are other airway devices that might be available but a lot of my patients are still scared."
Hospital systems across the world have been dealing with a dangerous shortage of ventilators, which are needed to pump oxygen-rich air into the lungs of people who fall critically ill from the coronavirus. The virus strikes the respiratory system the hardest and is especially dangerous for the elderly and people with pre-existing medical conditions.
As some wealthy people reportedly try to get their hands on a personal ventilator, some American manufacturers are looking to pitch in to create more. As ABC News reported, two major U.S. automakers are looking into opening their now-idled factories to start manufacturing the important medical machines. As the report noted, there are only close to 20 percent of the ventilators needed to address the most critically ill people over the course of the coronavirus outbreak.
"The Society of Critical Care Medicine estimates that 960,000 coronavirus patients in the U.S. may need to be put on ventilators over the course of the outbreak, according to The Associated Press. But the nonprofit medical organization said the nation only has about 200,000 of these machines."