When the news that Covid-19 had become a pandemic, the headlines screamed about a shortage of ventilators. That is where four Belleville natives hope to make a difference. Andrew Finkle, Trevor Smale, David O’Reilly, and Adam Snoxall are working on an open sourced ventilator concept. The hope is that hospitals like Belleville General will be able to use local infrastructure to manufacture these ventilators.
Currently manufacturers are doing the best they can to ramp up existing ventilator designs but Andrew Finkle says these are complicated devices and they take weeks to assemble. The four are looking to create something that will fill the gap while hospitals are waiting for more elaborate designs to be produced. Finkle says “this design would also provide resources to lower economic areas of the world where they have practically zero ventilators.”
The idea started as a Facebook post by Trevor Smale who had an idea to use the “Ambubag” which is used as a standard resuscitator in ambulances and it gathered support from engineers, medical professionals and different funding agencies around the world. Finkle says they have several working prototypes and they are starting to generate data.
Finkle says they have started the organization OpenLung (https://OpenLung.org) and all their designs are published so anyone in the world can access them and provide feedback and manufacture them for testing purposes. Finkle says “the hope is that the ideas travel faster than the virus.”
Belleville General Hospital Foundation Executive Director Steve Cook says “It is so heartwarming that four Belleville men could create something that could save millions of lives around the world and right here at home in the ICU at Belleville General Hospital. It is not about profit but purely about making the world a better place. We at BGHF just wanted to share this amazing story in a time when things can seem dark.”