The U.S healthcare system lacks an adequate number of working ventilators to effectively treat the expected influx of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) patients.

But it’s not just a dearth of ventilators and other critical medical equipment. We need to make sure we can properly maintain devices — and medical equipment manufacturers have placed obstacles in the way of that. Many manufacturers do not provide access to repair documentation, limiting who can repair the equipment. That discourages third-party medical repair companies or in-house medical engineers from trying to fix things.

“In order to keep equipment that is critical to treating COVID-19 working, with the least possible downtime, medical device manufacturers should immediately release all repair documentation and software, schematics and manuals for that equipment, especially ventilators,” said U.S. PIRG Right to Repair campaign director Nathan Proctor. “The fastest repair service is when hospital technicians have what they need to do repairs in-house, or can hire qualified technicians at their discretion. Preventing repair is generally a bad idea. That is even more true in a crisis, when systems are under stress. It could mean the difference between life and death.”

Device manufacturers and trade associations actively lobby against Right to Repair reforms. For example, a website that posts service manuals for ventilators shows that some manufacturers prohibit the sharing of repair information. Service information could be especially important if hospitals decide to refurbish older equipment as demand peaks. The Society of Critical Care Medicine estimates that there are as many as 100,000 such older ventilators across the country.

Click Here To Read Full Article: Advocates Say to Remove Barriers to Fixing Ventilators, Other Covid-19-Related Medical Equipment.