Medical equipment is not enough to assist the increasing numbers of patients suffering from COVID-19. Due to the shortage of medical supplies such as ventilators, NHS could allow doctors to let their patients use the same machine if hospitals in the United Kingdom are overwhelmed with coronavirus crisis.
As of now, intensive care machines are limited to a one-to-one ratio. Unfortunately, due to a lack of ventilators, NHS planners were forced to explore whether one machine could be used to save two patients.
There is no confirmation if the U.K. will consider this solution. Currently, its government is in the race to provide thousands of machines--from 8,000 to 40,000. However, the government admitted they couldn't bring in all of them, and it could take months.
Currently, the country is facing a severe shortage of ventilators and "has had to draft in the vacuum cleaner and plane engine manufacturers to make more to plug a shortfall," Daily Mail reported.
Risk of Sharing Same Ventilators
As the government and medical experts encourage the public to practice social distancing to avoid getting infected and the possibility of spreading the virus, this idea may bring problems as the risk of infection becomes higher if more than one person is connected to the same machine. However, an expert in the U.K. said, "no debate."
NHS chief said the extra capacity being created for the NHS is being used up 'very quickly.' The solution they are eyeing is allowing two patients to use the same ventilator to double capacity in some areas. NHS might consider this idea as thousands of people are being hospitalized because of the virus-- many of them require intensive care if they develop serious infections.
The survival rate of those who need intensive care is said to be around 50/50--it only means they need the right equipment, especially those with severe lung infections, and this includes a ventilator.