As the pandemic worsens in India, a South Bay dentist continues to champion efforts to make ‘homemade’ ventilators to send to countries ravaged by COVID.
For more than a year, Dr Kusum Atraya, a sleep dentist, has been collecting devices for sleep apnea that can then be converted into ventilators and shipped to countries still suffering the most from the pandemic. “I read about UCSF and the Berkeley conversion [Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machines] in ventilators and respirators, ”Atraya told the Gilroy Expedition in June 2020. “A lot of my patients have CPAP machines that collect dust in the closets. I thought there must be a lot more people in the community with unused units who might like to donate them.” A Stanford doctor ultimately created an accessory that converted the CPAC machines into an oxygen delivery device, according to KPIX.
“I knew most of my patients had these CPAP machines that they don’t use,” Atraya told KPIX. “So I called my patients, picked up a few, and slowly in the community we picked up 20,000.”
Dr Kusum Atraya has led a campaign to bring together tens of thousands of sleep apnea devices that are turned into ventilators and shipped around the world to patients in need. Source: Gilroy Family Dental Center
On Sunday at Morgan Hill, a dozen volunteers tested the modified sleep apnea devices and prepared to ship them to India, according to the East Bay Times. The base operation, which is run in the Atraya home, has sent ventilators to field hospitals and medical clinics in more than 20 poor countries, according to KPIX, adding that many of the volunteers are Indians, but they have started the fan before India got bogged down. in the pandemic.
With financial support from Google, the Atraya group hopes to ship some 400 boxes this week.
After resisting the early stages of the pandemic well last year, India is now experiencing what is considered “the world’s worst coronavirus outbreak” according to the New York Times. As vaccination rates in the west have skyrocketed, it is estimated that only 3% of the Indian population is vaccinated. As of Sunday, more than 3,700 people in India died from COVID; the second most populous country in the world currently records an average of 400,000 cases of COVID per day. Fans and supplemental oxygen are sorely lacking.
If you are interested in donating a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) or Dual Level Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAP) machine to Dr. Atraya’s group, please call 408-842-5037.