ResMed is a medical equipment company that makes medical devices such as ventilators. ResMed’s CEO, Mick Farrell, spoke to Jim Cramer on Mad Money today and expressed that he was happy that Elon Musk used his medical supplies to help hospitals. Farrell noted, “I think it’s great what Elon did. He went out and bought what I would call bi-level non-invasive ventilators from a platform of ours from five years ago from Asia and brought a thousand of them to New York.” He pointed out what Elon has stated, that providing logistics support is a notable help for those in need right now.
Farrell pointed out, though, that the shortage in ventilators is due mostly to a shortage of parts. Otherwise, ResMed could ramp up production much more.
“It’s a parts problem. We have over 500 parts going into these advanced sorts of V-8 level invasive ventilators,” says Farrell. As such, he has a request for people like Elon: Don’t buy the parts to make the ventilators. “Help us make the parts.” This will help medical device companies move faster when it comes to making ventilators.
Cramer asked if Farrell had been in contact with “the legendary Elon Musk,” and added that even CNBC’s Phil LeBeau said that Tesla deserved credit for coming through. (CNBC hasn’t historically been very positive on Tesla.) Nonetheless, at the same time, he noted that complainers are concerned that Elon Musk is shipping CPAPs instead of ventilators. Hence the reason for having Farrell on the show. Cramer said that his opinion was, “Anybody who gives anything is okay with me,” but that he wanted to get Farrell’s thoughts on what Elon Musk was doing since he had more of a technical view. That’s what triggered Farrell’s brief words of appreciation noted above, followed by his stronger appeal for support.
“Look, Tesla could help us with lithium-ion batteries,” Farrell says — an idea for Elon Musk to help by donating Tesla Powerwalls or Powerpacks perhaps. Furthermore, as highlighted above, what they really need are more parts.
Some critics believe that this whole thing is actually a fiasco and have criticized Elon Musk for helping out. One has even stated that the devices are five years old, when in fact it is the platform that is five years old, not necessarily the machines. It would seem that these critics have focused entirely too much on supposed faults Elon Musk and Tesla, who are trying to help, and not the larger issue at hand here: the coronavirus and the fact that hospitals are running out of supplies. Another critic has claimed that these machines don’t have any functionality in dealing with COVID-19 and questions as to why Tesla would provide them.
Dr. Jonathon Richards, a member of the Louisiana Tesla Owners and Dreamers Facebook group and an ICU doctor treating COVID-19 patients right here in Baton Rouge, explained to WAFB9 just how crucial ventilators are, and also explained that CPAP machines do indeed work as well. CPAP machines, according to Dr. Richards, are not as effective as ventilators when treating the severest of the cases, but they do help and can be used for milder cases or other illnesses in order to free up ventilators for severe COVID-19 cases. CPAP masks could indeed spread the virus due to the constant flow of oxygen and air. However, if you are using a CPAP machine at home, he indicates that you should continue to use it as prescribed.
It would seem that some of the critics could have a point that CPAPs are not as ideal as ventilators, but Cramer points out that it could be possible to retrofit machines such as a CPAP into a makeshift ventilator (aside from the other benefits we just mentioned). Here in Louisiana, doctors are doing that now while they are coping with the problem of having two patients per ventilator. CPAP machines do save lives, and if they mean the difference between life or death, why go and smear a company that is donating a bunch of these devices to help out sick people and medical staff in this time? Also, we are not privy to the conversations between Tesla and the medical professionals who received the machines. They could have requested them. (Meanwhile, the Pentagon has been sitting on 2,000 unused ventilators because FEMA and the US Department of Health and Human Services haven’t given the Pentagon a place to ship them.)
Before jumping to vilify Elon Musk or question his motives, perhaps we should redirect our focus onto more important matters, such as the life or death decisions that doctors here in our own country are having to make. Also, another question we could ask ourselves before jumping to attack someone for helping out is this: “What have I done to help?”