White House Left States On Their Own To Buy Ventilators. Inside Their Mad Scramble.

Fearful that New Orleans would run out of ventilators by early April as the number of COVID-19 patients rose by the hundreds, even thousands, per day, Louisiana officials set out to get every device they could find. At the time, that meant securing an additional 14,000.

Within days of President Donald Trump’s urging states to get their own supplies because it would “be faster if they can get them directly,” Louisiana sought only a fraction of them from the federal government and turned to private companies for the rest, having little confidence one supplier would give the state all it needed.

“If I knew for a fact that I could get all that I wanted from one vendor, I wouldn’t be ordering from another,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said March 31.

Louisiana set out to buy 9,000 from the private sector, where each device can cost tens of thousands of

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As Ventilators Become Crucial In Saving Lives, Repair Roadblocks Remain

DENVER — For years, manufacturers of ventilators and other medical equipment have kept a tight grip on the ability of hospitals to service and repair those products, prompting lawsuits and under-the-table sharing of repair manuals and software passwords.

Now, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for product information to keep ventilators up and running is at an all-time high.

Modern ventilators are typically serviced either every six months or 2,000 hours of use and can last for 10 years if maintained properly. But now nearly every ventilator is being called into near-constant service in hot spots, with some pulled out of storage after eight years on the shelf. When any ventilator breaks down amid the surge of cases, waiting two weeks for a repair can mean patients die.

While some manufacturers have made limited concessions to help hospitals and third-party service providers maintain equipment during the crisis,

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Nursing Homes Have Thousands Of Ventilators That Hospitals Desperately Need

As the number of COVID-19 patients climbs and health officials hunt for ventilators to treat them, nursing homes across the United States have a cache ― about 8,200 of the lifesaving machines, according to data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Most of the machines are in use, often by people who’ve suffered a brain injury or stroke. Some of those residents are in a vegetative state and have remained on a ventilator for years.

State officials are working to consolidate ventilators where they are most urgently needed. But so far, the supply in nursing homes has not drawn the same attention.

Or course, commandeering those units would set up a monumental ethical dilemma: Do you remove life support for a long-term nursing care patient in order to give a COVID-19 patient a better chance of survival?

The highest number of machines, about 2,300, is in California, where

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