A Failure of Government to Supervise Ventilator Production

Posted by Jack, with highlighted commentary inserted by Jack

New York Times 3/29/20 – Thirteen years ago during the George W. Bush presidency, a group of U.S. public health officials came up with a plan to address what they regarded as one of the medical system’s crucial vulnerabilities: a shortage of ventilators.

The breathing-assistance machines tended to be bulky, expensive and limited in number. The plan was to build a large fleet of inexpensive portable devices to deploy in a flu pandemic or another crisis.

Money was budgeted. A federal contract was signed. Work got underway, sort of, and then things suddenly veered off course when the Obama Administration moved into the White House.  A multibillion-dollar maker of medical devices bought the small California company that had been hired to design the new machines. The project ultimately produced zero ventilators.   The transitioning oversight or rather the lack thereof, allowed this project to slip through the cracks. 

That critical failure delayed the development of an affordable ventilator by at least half a decade, depriving hospitals, states and the federal government of the ability to stock up. The federal government started over with another company in 2014, whose ventilator was approved only last year (during the Trump Administration) and whose products have not yet been delivered.

“The stalled efforts to create a new class of cheap, easy-to-use ventilators highlight the perils of outsourcing projects with critical public-health implications to private companies without diligent follow up; their focus on maximizing profits is not always consistent with the government’s goal of preparing for a future crisis.

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5 Responses to A Failure of Government to Supervise Ventilator Production

  1. Pie Guevara says:

    Well, we won’t be hearing this in the lamestream. They’re far to busy inventing phony, misleading and specious narratives over the Trump administration’s handling of the virus crisis.

  2. J Soden says:

    Each day, there’s a new Obumble Failure to find. And Prez Peanut is SO happy his Worst President title has been removed and awarded to Obumble in perpetuity.

  3. RHT447 says:

    Here’s my ‘no gov’t follow up’ story.

    Back in my early days as a gun dealer (FFL), the state of California mandated that all dealer gun transactions should be conducted online. This after a couple of years of doing all paperwork in quadruplicate (literally) by mail. Fair enough. But, state mandate, so the state is responsible for supplying every licencesed dealer in the state with the hardware and software to do so. This was in the early days of Win XP.

    As in the aticle above, money was budgeted and a contract was signed. Came time to start shipping, and nobody answered the phone. Seems that in the interim, the contracted company had gone out of business. Yeah, no follow up.

    My first event was a phone call from some place in Kentucky.

    Them: “Hi. You’re modem is on the way”.
    Me: “That’s great. Ummm, what modem would that be?”.
    Them: “Are you an FFL?”.
    Me: “Why yes, yes I am.
    Them: “Well, the first batch of computers that shipped out have no modems, so they
    have no way to connect to the internet”.

    Thus began my career in DYI computer repair.

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