KEY POINTS

  • Despite the lockdown, countries like Italy have been experiencing a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases
  • Chiara hospital ran out of ventilator spare parts
  • Thanks to 3-D printers, the ventilator parts of critical intensive care machines were replaced soon enough to safe 10 lives

With over 125,000 cases of COVID-19, the hospitals are running out of ventilators. And, in a recent turn of events, a 3D printer was used to save the lives of over ten different Italian COVID-19 patients. As soon as the hospital experienced a shortage of ventilators, the 3D printer produced a very unique replacement valve for broken ventilators. Since there is a surge in the infection rates in Italy, the advent of these innovations can help healthcare workers to become more responsive to the deadly virus.

The story

Chiara hospital faced a shortage of ventilator spare parts. The hospital couldn’t stock on the necessary medical equipment, which was critical when the deadly virus progressed. The hospital reached out to a local newspaper for help. This was where the innovation was rapidly created. Massimo Temporelli, a physicist and 3D expert, and newspaper editor Nunzia Vallini looked for a local owner od a 3D printer that could be brought to the hospital in order to print the required spare parts. They could do this within a few hours.

Afterward, the redesigning and printing of the ventilator parts of the critical intensive care machines were done successfully in a jiffy.

They have saved about ten lives by being so innovative during such a crisis. AS soon as the 3D-printed parts were fit into the ventilators, the patients were finally in better care. The ventilators provided the COVID-19 patients with necessary oxygen during times when they were unable to function or breathe on their own.

This incident has proved that Italy has a strong fighting chance against the deadly virus despite the surge in the number of people infected (24,747) and dead (1,809).

 "As you know in northern Italy the COVID-19 emergency is very serious," Marco Silvestri, an industrial engineer of the University of Parma, said.

Ever since the COVID-19 outbreak in Italy, the number of people infected is on the rise every day, despite the lockdown.

With the intervention of innovative technology like the 3D printing of ventilator spare parts, experts believe that there is still a lot of hope left.

This photo taken on January 24, 2020 and released by China's Xinhua News Agency shows chief nurse Ma Jing (R) holding a patient's hand to comfort her in the ICU (intensive care unit) of Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University in Wuhan This photo taken on January 24, 2020 and released by China's Xinhua News Agency shows chief nurse Ma Jing (R) holding a patient's hand to comfort her in the ICU (intensive care unit) of Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University in Wuhan Photo: XINHUA / XIONG Qi