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Boise State providing hospitals with much-needed ventilators

The university is doing its part to help combat the shortage of ventilators by distributing 14 machines to area hospitals.

BOISE, Idaho — The demand for medical equipment continues to grow.

Things like gloves, masks, gowns are all in short supply as hospitals across the country try to restock their depleted supplies.

Also on that list – ventilators - the machines that help patients breathe when they can't breathe on their own.

And because the COVID-19 virus attacks the respiratory system, the need for additional units continues to grow.

In the Treasure Valley, Boise State University is trying to do their part to help combat the potential shortage.

BSU’s Department of Respiratory Care is in the process of distributing 14 of its ventilators to some of their medical partners in the valley, which include hospitals like Saint Alphonsus and St. Luke's.

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Those ventilators are normally used by students. But since students are no longer on campus, the school is putting them to better use.

“We're going to have a great need for ventilators, we're likely going to have our intensive care units full and all of the ventilators that are currently available within the valley that are usually used will be in action, so they're going to need additional support,” said Dr. Joe Coyle, interim chair, Boise State Department of Respiratory Care, “and so that's where this came into play. So we're doing all we can to help and I hope everyone is doing all they can do to help.”

Boise State professor Lonny Ashworth developed a method for ventilating two or more patients with one ventilator. He posted a video on YouTube with the idea being that this would only be used in extreme circumstances, it could be lifesaving because of the lack of ventilators.

Dr. Coyle says that YouTube post has been getting a lot of comments and suggestions to further refine the process so if the need arises this will be an option if the time comes.

Boise State University is also offering additional resources.

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