'It's not fancy, but it works': Mississippi doctor uses garden hose, lamp timer and electronic valve to create makeshift ventilators


JACKSON, Miss. — As states across the country beg for ventilators to help patients suffering with respiratory issues from COVID-19, the University of Mississippi Medical Center is building its own makeshift ventilators with supplies found at a hardware store.

Dr. Charles Robertson, a UMMC pediatric anesthesiologist and the mastermind behind the idea, said he set out to make the “absolute simplest ventilator we can build with parts available in any city, you don’t need special tools to put together and can be done quickly as the need arises.”

Made with “primarily a garden hose, a lamp timer and electronic valve,” the ventilator, named the Robertson Ventilator, for less than $100, can be assembled in approximately 20 to 30 minutes, meaning a dedicated team of four to five could produce nearly 100 in a day if needed, he said.

Demonstrating the functionality of the machine at a news conference Tuesday afternoon, Robertson turned on a ventilator hooked up to a mannequin. The mannequin’s chest began to rise and fall.

[SIZE=6]The Robertson Ventilator: ‘The brain behind the thing is actually a lamp timer’[/SIZE]
“The brain behind the thing is actually a lamp timer,” he said. “It’s not fancy but it works. This would be available as a last resort if the numbers increase as we think they might.”

While in-demand ventilators may go to states that are the highest bidder, Robertson noted the parts he gathered are from Home Depot and Lowe’s.

“No one has been competing with me for those,” he said.

As of Tuesday, UMMC staff had assembled 170 of the ventilators, Robertson said, doubling the hospital’s capacity. They have parts to make 75 more.

Given the supplies involved and their wide availability, UMMC has “the ability to quickly manufacture any more if we need them,” he said.

Dr. Richard Summers, associate vice chancellor for research for UMMC, addressed the shortage of conventional ventilators, saying, “as a contingency plan, we were looking for our state to be independent.”

[SIZE=6]University of Mississippi Medical Center seeks FDA emergency authorization[/SIZE]
The Robertson Ventilators have been tested and proven to be successful on both laboratory animals at UMMC and in simulation, Summers said, and “performed well, even in conditions that we would expect with COVID lung.”

The hospital has applied for an Emergency Use Authorization from the Food and Drug Administration for the Robertson Ventilators, in the event the conventional ventilators are already in use.

Dr. Alan Jones, chair of emergency medicine, said UMMC currently has 80 to 90 conventional ventilators. As of Tuesday, almost 20 patients with COVID-19 and another 20 to 30 non-COVID patients are are on those ventilators.

“I do feel as though we are positioned … that if we got to the point of needing this it’s going to be a dire situation,” he said.

Roberston said that if hospitals have the option, a commercially available ventilator should be used first, “but with a patient whose likely to die soon, this could be lifesaving.”

“The role of this ventilator is if there’s nothing else available,” he said. "This is something that can be made quickly.

“The problems with the worst-case scenario is it will only come on very rapidly and apparent within a day or two that it’s going to happen. We can build as many of these as patients to use them.”

Follow Sarah Fowler on Twitter: @FowlerSarah

Are these parts available in our bonobo republic? Timer najua pahali pa kupata ziko. Hio valve na gas sijui. I see a potential life saving and also nukisha kitunguu opportunity… Basically this is the difference between a black primate and an asian primate once they recieve such sweet information . One will go back to #rwnbp #bbi #azziad #utawezana chieth after glancing at the information, while the latter will quickly come up with a cheap way of implomenting the idea and even improving it and sell to the black primate…
But first things first lets pay comedians and actors hefty amounts to entertain the sick hungry and soon to be sick masses on tv

How sure are they this will work 100% of the time. Because if one even fails, isn’t that the grave guaranteed.

Gatheca is a furking baboon

Yes yes, let them stick to the alternative of nothing in this time of crisis. It will work much better.

Everyone is inventing ventilators from guinea to fiji yet not even a picture of any of them in use…just news

there are kenyans who made a ventilator. yall dont do research. fxckin boomers

You haven’t seen this Kenyan made using scrapped parts?

Question. If you use junkyard parts to build one. Then the government asks you to build 10 in 3 days, can you source those parts?
Also what if a hospital purchased that unit, how will the tech control it with all those wires hanging out?

I should think the important part was to show they had the knowledge and technical capacity to improvise one and all of those parts are locally available in hardware, electrical and electronic shops.
The appearance is cosmetic, they can come up with covers for the exposed parts.
Nothing looks good uncovered even the microwave in your house.

Ok ,now post a video of the prototypes being used on actual humans…

You said you hadn’t even seen a photo of a prototype and I dug out a video for you.
If you watch the 2nd video the only thing missing is an oxygen mask and a patient.
What more do you want?
Evidence of a patient who has recovered after being treated using one?

English can be a quagmire to some folks,please dont make it a habit out of you…duh<--------[SIZE=1]who says that in 2020?

[SIZE=4]in use on a sick human being. Is that clear now?[/SIZE]

Hapo sawa. But a breadboard and arduino(?)leave me worried sometimes.

Our government is handling the pandemic better than most countries

wacha nipambane na Dr macharia wa ngara kwanza, mambo ya misisipi baadaye…

Absolutely. I also think so. That’s one benefit of having an authoritarian government. Hiyo “contact tracing” ya Kagwe wouldn’t work in most democracies, especially in the west- you’d have to go through a lengthy court process to subpoena telephone companies to release phone records!

@Purple are you feeling better, last time ulisema ni kama tu symptoms were showing. Na workplace, is your employer treating you guys right?

I’m sure that you can easily find the parts: from the back streets of Luthuli Ave, through River Rd to Grogon/Kirinyaga roads. In my younger years I did a few science hobby projects and there were plenty of electronics and hardware stores in the areas mentioned above.
Kenya has a lot of talent! During my high school years (20+ years), it was amazing the kind of stuff guys made for their inter-school Science Project competitions.

It costs 100$ in the us but400$ in ke using scrap materials . Kenyans will always be kenyans