ONLY ON ABC7NEWS.COM: Bay Area group says donating your CPAP or BIPAP device could help save lives

A group of medical doctors, engineers, and students here in the Bay Area believe that CPAP and BIPAP machines used for sleep apnea can also be used as an emergency ventilator in certain situations.

"This is a last resort option that would be great to have in that tool bag of ours to treat patients" says Dr. Ajay Dharia from Mills Peninsula Medical Center.

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Dr. Ajay Dharia is part of the COVID-19 Ventilator Rapid Response Team. He says they have formulated a way with the proper fittings and tubes, to refurbish CPAP and BIPAP devices that would allow them to be used as ventilators in emergency situations. Bryan Martel is an engineer and
executive who is part of the response team. "If there are tents with 300 people in them and they don't have ventilators here is a solution so this is a back up solution," says Martel

The group is asking those willing to donate these machines to register their devices at www.VentilatorSOS.com.

They still need several approvals for the devices to be used on patients but you can register your device at that site. Those approvals could come in a matter of weeks.

After we learned of this at least two viewers offered to give away their backup CPAP devices.

"Definitely, I would love to help," Amanda Rothchild said. "We're all looking for ways to help and that's a way of giving back."

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Vince Harrington IV told us he has an extra device that could also be put towards the effort. "I would be more than happy to donate it. It works perfectly fine."

Dr. Dharia says these devices would be used in moderate cases of COVID-19 where the patient is suffering but still able to breath on their own.

It would then free up ventilators for more critical patients. He says the time to act is now.

"If we don't think about it now, in two weeks or four weeks when the surge potentially happens, we can be overwhelmed."

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