Over the weekend, Tesla released a video by its engineering team that showed updates on a new ventilator design that will be created and donated to hospitals that need them. One nurse has taken to YouTube to provide his thoughts and hopefully useful feedback. As we know, Elon Musk is a fan of constructive criticism, which helps everyone to learn better in general as long as you are receptive to it.
Christ Vanderstock is a nurse with more than 20 years of experience in anesthetics and a bit in intensive care units (ICU). In the video, he discusses what Tesla has done in its development and talks about resuscitators.
Vanderstock starts off the video by explaining the muscles and mechanics of how we breathe naturally. It’s actually pretty amazing what our bodies can do naturally. When it comes to mechanical ventilation, Vanderstock explains that in mechanical ventilation, the machines push the air into the patient.
Vanderstock also explains how resuscitators are used. These can be used as part of a ventilator or with a face mask. In my lifetime, I’ve only been on one of those once when I was first diagnosed with asthma (and almost died).
In the video provided by Tesla, Vanderstock noted that two-thirds of the materials used to make the ventilators were already-existing parts for Tesla vehicles and was impressed with that. “Well done, guys,” he said. Again, Vanderstock stops the video to explain why the silver mixing chamber is so important. He says that both ventilators and anesthetic machines have a mixing chamber that takes in medical air, oxygen, and nitrogen. These get mixed in the chamber before the patient receives it. This is a key difference from resuscitators.
In another part of the Tesla video, Vanderstock explains what is going on in layman’s terms regarding all the sensors. They have pressure monitors which are very important because the lungs can’t get too much air at one time — it could hurt them.
Another important thing to consider is warming the air and keeping it humidified. Vanderstock explains that as we breathe, our bodies warm the air to a certain temperature before it gets all the way to our lungs. He hasn’t heard Tesla talk about these parts. Vanderstock also explains that there are a couple of things not quite right regarding the exhalation part of Tesla’s video and goes into detail about what Positive End Expired Pressure (PEEP) is and how it works.
Regarding the infotainment system, Vanderstock says, “Amazing. The ingenuity of these engineers is incredible.” I have to agree. The idea of using car parts to help potentially saves lives just shows how fluid Tesla engineers are — they can cross all industries. Vanderstosk also offers his feedback and advice on how Tesla can improve its ventilator.
“There’s a lot more we need to do to make this worthwhile into something that, really, ICUs would love. And that is: You need to have some sort of spontaneous or synchronization method.” He explains that this feature would be helpful when doctors are weaning a patient off of the ventilator. He says that you need to have these modes to support the patient as they start back breathing on their own.
“These are amazing first steps by Tesla here. Remember, these guys are carmakers, carmakers!” Regarding the monitor showing the diagrams, his only feedback to Tesla is to make the numbers larger at the top. You can see the area he is talking about in the image below.
It is critical for the healthcare workers to be able to see the numbers that show what the waveforms, flow, pressure, volume, and other settings are, as well as the O2 rate, delays, and other information — including from the other end of the bed and as they move around the patient. More often than not, they look at the monitor from the foot of the patient’s bed and need those figures to be large and easily visible.
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