Monday , June 21 2021

Geisinger doctor helps build new, low-cost ventilator

Researchers and doctors are working to find new ways to cope during this health crisis. In some cases, creating brand new tools. That includes one local doctor.

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — They say necessity is the mother of invention. That’s what’s what is driving doctors and researchers in our region during this crisis.

Dr. Mark Poler has been busy researching and helping find new ways to deal with COVID-19 and cope with the country’s equipment shortages.

Dr. Poler is a Geisinger anesthesiologist in the Danville area and among those who recently worked on a study showing how ventilators can be shared among patients who need them in emergency situations.

“Sharing a ventilator between two patients is not an ideal, but it’s better than not having a ventilator,” said Dr. Poler.

Dr. Poler was also on a team at Villanova University that helped build a low-cost emergency ventilator made with a medical resuscitation bag.

“We essentially built a machine that squeezes that rhythmically but adds features of a standard ventilator but can be built for 50 dollars instead of 50-thousand.”

With concerns about ventilator shortages during this pandemic, Dr. Poler hopes the cheaper version he helped create can help people near and far.

“We know how much this pandemic has challenged us in such a wealthy country, and parts of the world simply don’t have the resources we have. I have an acquaintance who is an engineer in Sudan, and he tells me there are only 80 ventilators in the entire country.”

Dr. Poler said the design is already in demand in countries like India, too and projects like the ones he has worked on are underway all over the world. 

He calls it an exciting thing during such a difficult time.

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