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Coronavirus: What is a ventilator and what does it do?


GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) With the spread of the coronavirus we are all learning more about the need for ventilators. But what is a ventilator and what does it do? Local 5 spoke with medical experts to find out.

In the fight against Covid-19, a medical device known as a ventilator is helping save many lives.

“A ventilator is really the key life support piece of equipment that hospitals are using,” said the Dean of Health Science and Education at NWTC, Scott Anderson.

Ventilators are mechanical breathing devices that help a patient whose lungs are under attack by this virus, which in severe cases damages lung tissue, preventing transfer of oxygen to the blood.

“A ventilator is an assist device that essentially will go ahead and provide the necessary oxygen and the ventilation for someone who has lungs that are injured,” said Dr. John Koszuta, a critical care specialist with Bellin Hospital.

The demand for this device is high, as hospitals around the nation deal with and prepare for – a wave of coronavirus cases.

“This particular virus is one that is very transmissible,” said Dr. Koszuta.

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers is moving forward to purchase 10,000 ventilators and President Trump is using the Defense Production Act to order companies like General Motors to ramp up production of the medical device.

“Really encouraging to see what is happening on the national level of different companies stepping up to try to assist with the manufacturing process,” Anderson said.

But experts pray for that day ahead, when the need for a ventilator isn’t in such high demand.

“It’s about slowing the curve down, so we don’t have to use these ventilators,” said Dr. Koszuta.

And the doctor says that means we must continue social distancing – to stop the spread of the virus.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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