LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Ventilators have become a point of contention nationwide, with states and hospitals trying to do what they can to have enough as the numbers of people with the virus continue to rise.
Shortages of ventilators or "iron lungs" in other countries have had disastrous results. In hard-hit New York, the need is desperate.
"We need it now," New York Mayor Bill de Blasio begged. "We need to save lives. We need it now."
In Kentucky, which hasn’t seen the number of cases peak yet, hospitals are doing whatever they can to make sure they have enough. So far, the numbers of ventilators available has not reached a critical level in Louisville. Norton Healthcare told us they have nearly 200 ventilators, UofL Health has 170 and Baptist Health has 73 in the Kentuckiana area.
Baptist Health told us they are trying to purchase more and finding ways to lease them as an alternative. Meanwhile Norton, a non-profit, said they recently invested $5 million to purchase new ones.
Although all three hospitals are staying afloat with their numbers of ventilators and the corresponding sedatives, it's the future they're planning for as the numbers of those in need is sure to rise.
The race is on.
New York just received a shipment of 400 ventilators. President Trump challenged auto manufactures to quickly start making them. Companies like General Motors and Ford are already working at it, though the process to make iron lungs isn't an easy one.
"We have to scale these up because the factories as we know them weren't built to produce the volumes we need to make," Jim Hackett, Ford Motor Company's President and CEO said.
Governor Beshear promised Tuesday he is doing everything in his power to make sure the state has the number of ventilators it may need.