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Local doc shares video on how to use 1 ventilator for up to 4 patients

Posted: 6:20 PM, Mar 21, 2020
Updated: 2020-03-21 23:17:38-04

(WXYZ) — A local doctor is sharing a way she thinks could help patients with coronavirus and she's taking her message to YouTube sharing her innovative technique.

Dr. Charlene Babcock from Ascension St. John Hospital says ventilators can be modified to help as many as four COVID-19 patients at the same time with breathing. That's something that could be desperately needed when numbers of infection reach a peak.

Babcock explains connecting a series of plastic tubes to the device can split oxygen flow and redirect it into lung simulators.

"In this configuration, we have four ports to connect the expiration or inspiration cycle-to," she said.

In 2006, Babcock and Dr. Greg Neyman published a study on the hack.

Babcock said the inexpensive plastic tubes are readily available at hospitals, and making connections work won't take a lot of time.

In life or death situations, she said studies show not only is this method effective, but it can be used in a manner that will adapt to a more crowded environment should hospitals become overrun with patients.

She said the method was very successful in use before, and a doctor was able to keep patients alive for hours as they waited for more ventilators to come in.

Babcock said she hopes this method can be truly used to save more lives in the wake of this unprecendented health crisis.

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