Local glass blower creates ventilator splitters for hospitals

Glass blowing

Glass blowing

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BOULDER, Colo. (KDVR) — People across the country and in Colorado are burning the midnight oil by coming up with creative ways to help solve the country’s ventilator shortage.

It’s a problem being felt by hospitals across the United States.

“People are not taking this seriously enough,” said Joshua McMenamin of Orbital Glass.

McMenamin is a glass blowing artist from Boulder.

He stumbled upon an idea that originated in a 2006 medical study, where you can create a splitter which will turn a single ventilator system into a system that helps four people instead of one.

“There are people doing this all over the world,” McMenamin said.

The controversial idea should only be used in emergency situations, according to the study’s co-author.

“This is clearly off label and would likely only be used in dire circumstance – which we may see with COVID-19,” said Dr. Charlene Babcock, the study’s co-author.

Babcock’s idea has never been tested on humans.

“If it was me and I had four patients and they all needed intubation and I only had one ventilator, I would simply have a shared discussion meeting with all four families and say, ‘I can pick one to live, or we can try to save all four,'” she said.

To learn more about McMenamin’s effort, visit his website.

You can also read the 2006 study by clicking here.

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