FAQs

Donation Logistics

Yes. Though we do not yet know if we can use broken devices, it is helpful to know about them just in case. Please fill out the form on our website homepage and there is a place to indicate if it is broken.

Yes. Please indicate in the comments on our website form that you aren’t sure about ownership and who your provider is, and we will check with providers before we collect your device.

We apologize for the delay. We are working to establish the logistics of the pick up and delivery process. We will be contacting people who registered with the website as soon as possible to arrange pick up, or to let you know that we don’t need the device. Thank you for your patience and generosity.

Thank you very much for your offer and patience as we finalize our logistics process and match devices with hospitals in need. Hospitals are not equipped to receive device donations; they must go through a formal channel. We will let you know if we need your help in shipping the device. We will be in touch as soon as possible with more information.

Please submit the form again with the new information, and make sure your name and email address are the same as on your original submission. (If you don’t remember which name or email you used, or if you need to change the name or email from the original submission, please Contact Us.)

No. We are currently asking people nationwide to fill out the form on our website homepage if they are willing to donate so we can assess the best way to handle logistics. Depending on government direction and funding we may not be able to get them from everyone, but it is helpful to get an idea of how many are available and where they are in case we need them all.

We think doctors in need will do what they need to do with what they have, especially in locations with limited access to medical equipment. Please submit the donation form on our website and we will contact you if we can use your device.

We do not want the wonderful people who have donated their devices to pay for shipping or pickup costs. We are working with government agencies to manage the costs.

If you don’t use your travel device we will try to find a doctor somewhere that can use the device to help save a life.

Unfortunately, we can not use APAP devices.

We anticipate that in some areas of the world the emergency will be so dire that all the parts you have might be used, so please do include information in the Comments section of the donation form about any components you have to donate including face masks, tubing, unopened sterile tubing, masks, sterilization systems, filters, and nebulizers. You will receive a call from our logistics partner, Apogee, with the details of what to include when they call to arrange a time to pick-up the unit.

Program Overview

Providing respiratory support is an important part of the treatment for some patients that suffer from COVID-19 to maintain life while their body fights the infection.

However, even in countries with advanced healthcare systems there may be insufficient ventilators during the apex of the infection to help everyone in need of support. We believe this problem will be even more acute in the developing world where there is a major shortage of traditional mechanical ventilators. Although there are many commendable efforts going on to increase the manufacturing output of ventilators, these efforts are challenged by the time required to ramp up production and insufficient parts. Our program relies on 10 million sleep apnea machines that already exist in people’s homes, allowing us to respond more quickly to hospital needs.

The purpose of this program is to supply the doctors with an additional tool to use, at their discretion, to help their patients. These devices do not replace the traditional ventilator, but the doctors we have been working with at University of California, San Francisco, and the University of Miami believe there are several important situations where these devices could be used which would benefit patients and save ventilator capacity for more ill patients.

We believe there are three use cases where these devices could be useful:

  1. Patients who have less serious disease who need some respiratory support. An oxygenated CPAP with a mask or an oxygenated BiPAP with either a mask or hood could be a solution, depending on circumstances at the discretion of the doctor or respiratory therapist.
  2. Patients who are recovering and are being weaned from mechanical ventilation as they stabilize. Often the doctor will use the ventilator in BiPAP mode in these cases, and these solutions could provide that benefit making the ventilator available for another patient.
  3. In extreme emergency situations where there are no ventilators available the CPAP/BiPAP could provide some support to prolong life until a ventilator becomes available.

It is important to note that these solutions are not a substitute for a ventilator, but can expand the capacity of healthcare providers to provide respiratory support to patients in times of emergency.

By providing an additional type of respiratory support these devices can be used to potentially delay or avoid the use of a ventilator. They might also be useful in accelerating when the patient can be weaned from a traditional ventilator. We believe these uses could easily stretch ventilator capacity by 30-40%, saving those ventilators for those patients needing them the most.

The devices will be distributed to hospitals in need as close to the donor site as possible, but the priority will be to get them to the hospitals that need them immediately, regardless of location. Initially, the shipments will be in the U.S. As the demand subsides in U.S. hospitals demand in other countries is growing and we will ship them to South America, Central America and other regions in need. We will give device donors the option of specifying whether they want to donate internationally or not.

We do not plan to collect devices if there is not a request from a hospital for them. If that becomes the case we will notify donors that we no longer need their devices.

Several university labs have tested repurposed sleep apnea devices and verified that they work as ventilator alternatives.

The national and state ventilator supplies have proven inadequate to meet the demand due to COVID-19.

We are partnering with Apogee, a well known company with experience in pick-up and delivery of consumer electronics. The donor will receive a call from them to arrange a pick-up time and answer any questions the donor might have. They will pick these up at the donor’s home, do an inspection and pack the unit for shipment to the hospital.

The CPAP and BIPAP machines can be connected to either a hood, or a face mask. We believe the most common use will be to provide positive air/oxygen pressure through the mask or hood since these non-invasive methods are emerging as effective in treating many COVID patients, potentially helping them not need a traditional ventilator.

Ventilators SOS has chosen to operate as a project of Survivors for Good, a California non-profit corporation. We began as a grass-roots, all-volunteer effort, and are formalizing relationships with government bodies and universities, in the hope they will be able to expand and run operations.

The volunteers are unpaid and team members are working with multiple organizations, including University of California, Berkeley and the University of Miami on getting philanthropic or government support.

Technical Aspects

These modifications should only be done by a healthcare professional since it is important to carefully select patients who would benefit and carefully monitor them during use. This should not be attempted by the general public.

This information is being supplied to hospitals, doctors and respiratory therapists when they request units so they know how to configure them. The components are generally available in hospitals, so we believe assembly will be relatively easy for hospitals. The instructions and required parts will vary somewhat depending on whether the hospital selects a mask or hood configuration.

These devices only provide breathing assistance.

The units can be used in both mask and hood configurations at the doctor’s discretion. The mask configuration is simpler than an intubation retrofit, and we have also provided information on how to minimize the amount of leakage to reduce contamination of the area.

This is an issue and the information supplied to hospitals addresses how to minimize leakage by installing virus filters and using specific types of masks. However, this risk cannot be entirely eliminated, making it crucial for healthcare providers to have the appropriate personal protective equipment to minimize risk.

Devices for Personal Use

Thank you for your offer, but only people who have unused devices to donate should register on our website. At this time we are not asking people who need their devices to register on our donation site.

No. For those with health conditions who already have CPAP or BIPAP devices, we suggest you keep your own device for now just in case it could come in handy in the future. Even without oxygen, the positive airway pressure of the sleep apnea device could be of assistance. The FDA suggests you check on the manufacturer’s website for emergency use guidelines.

No, our devices are being modified for use solely by healthcare professionals, ideally in a clinical setting. This is because the patients must be carefully selected and closely monitored during use. This should not be attempted at home.

No. It is important that both the modification and use of the device be done by a doctor or respiratory therapist. Repurposed devices are not appropriate for personal use.

We will not offer kits or instructions to allow consumers to modify their own devices. The modification and use of the repurposed devices must be done by a doctor or respiratory therapist.

This is not recommended. An important part of our program is for each hospital that participates in this program to do their own medical evaluation of when and how to use these devices. They will also train their staff in their safe use. Consequently, if the emergency room you go to is participating in this program they will already have devices ready for use. If they are not participating in our program they would not have the protocols developed to safely use your unit.

The FDA suggests you check on the manufacturer’s website for emergency use guidelines. If you are experiencing difficulty breathing you should contact your doctor or other medical resources in your area for individual medical advice.

Privacy/Legal/
Compensation

We’ll ask the folks that pick up devices to give you a donation receipt.

We’re sorry, but we only have capacity to send the devices to hospitals and won’t be able to collect them afterwards. Please only donate a device that you no longer will need.

We are using encryption to protect your data-form submission and limiting the use of the data to just what is needed to collect donated devices. We will not share your data with anyone beyond this purpose.

Volunteering/Similar Efforts

We would love to get help, but we are doing our best to keep our lips above water and manage the resource we have right now. We’re like parents trying to take care of a wedding with 20 loving aunts trying to volunteer. We still love you all 🙂

We’ll take any good suggestions. Feel free to Contact Us.

Not at this time but if we need help in the future we’ll let you know. Please Contact Us with your information.