KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. — Oregon Institute of Technology (OIT) says that it has partnered with Sky Lakes Medical Center and Asante Rogue Regional to provide a backup supply of ventilators should the medical providers run into a shortage.
Ventilator machines have been in high demand around the nation and the world as a last line of defense for patients critically ill from COVID-19.
“Medical facilities usually only have a set number of ventilators for normal operations, but these are not normal times,” explained Paul Stewart, president and chief executive officer of Sky Lakes. “If all ventilators are already being used, should there be a major outbreak, then any additional patients in need of a ventilator would need to be emergency transferred to a facility that has the proper equipment, if they are available. If all ventilators are in use throughout the region, then, tragically, patients wouldn’t get the care they need to survive respiratory illnesses like COVID-19.”
Because of the equipment used in some of its degree programs, Oregon Tech says that its uniquely positioned to help in a situation like this. According to the school's medical equipment technologist, Jason Tucker, OIT has 26 ventilators that are available to loan out should the need arise.
“Many of our current students and alumni are technicians at Sky Lakes and Asante’s hospitals, in addition to faculty who work there. We are glad to once again work together during this time,” said Tucker.
“This is a critical period during the pandemic when healthcare facilities need to be prepared well in advance of the anticipated surge of patients,” said Scott Kelly, president and CEO of Asante. “Our longstanding partnership with Oregon Tech and the ventilators it is making available helps ensure the people in the communities we serve will have life-saving technology available when they need it most.”
According to OIT's Tucker, Sky Lakes and Asante have also allowed faculty to visit their facilities in order to give online training for students while using the machines.
“We will be able to present some of our classes remotely from the hospital, providing our students with an even more realistic learning environment,” Tucker said.
Oregon officials have identified 733 ventilators at facilities around the state. The state recently sent 140 ventilators to New York, which has become a national hot-spot for the coronavirus.