Quantcast

South Bay dentist has been marshaling ventilator drive for over a year

Photo via engineering.berkeley.edu
By Tim Henry - Published on May 25, 2021.

As the pandemic worsens in India, a South Bay dentist continues to champion efforts to fabricate "homemade" ventilators to send to COVID-ravaged nations.

For more than a year, Dr. Kusum Atraya, a sleep-specialist dentist, has been gathering sleep apnea machines which can then be converted into ventilators and shipped to countries still suffering the worst of the pandemic. "I read about UCSF and Berkeley converting [Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machines] into ventilators and respirators," Atraya told the Gilroy Dispatch in June 2020. "Many of my patients have CPAP machines collecting dust in closets. I thought there must be many more people in the community with unused units who might like to donate them." A Stanford Doctor ultimately created an accessory that converted the CPAC machines into an oxygen delivery device, according to KPIX.

“I knew most of my patients had those CPAP machines that they are not using,” Atraya told KPIX. “So, I called my patients, collected some, and slowly, in the community, we collected 20,000.”

Dr. Kusum Atraya has led a drive to gather tens of thousands of sleep apnea machines which are turned into ventilators and shipped across the globe to patients in need. Source: Gilroy Family Dental Center

 

On Sunday in Morgan Hill, a dozen volunteers tested the modified sleep-apnea devices and prepared to ship them to India, according to the East Bay Times. The grassroots operation, which is run out of Atraya’s house, sent ventilators to field hospitals and medical clinics in more than 20 impoverished nations, according to KPIX, adding that many of the volunteers are Indian, but they began the ventilator drive before India became mired in the pandemic.

With some financial backing from Google, Atraya’s group hopes to ship some 400 boxes this week. 

After faring well during the early stages of the pandemic last year, India now has what is considered "the world’s worst coronavirus outbreak," according to the New York Times. While vaccination rates in the west have soared, it's estimated that only 3% of India's population is inoculated. On Sunday, more than 3,700 people in India died from COVID; the second-most populated country in the world is currently averaging 400,000 COVID cases a day. Ventilators and supplemental oxygen are in desperately short supply. 

 If you're interested in donating a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) or Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAP) machine to Dr. Atraya’s group, please call 408-842-5037. 

Jun 17, 2021
San Jose

South Bay residents revel in California’s reopening

It might be one of the most anticipated social and economic events in modern times: a return to normalcy. And many business owners and residents of the South Bay have been celebrating their new/old freedoms. Read More

Jun 15, 2021
San Jose

Santa Clara County cops have lower vaccination rates than the general public

Santa Clara County law enforcement officers appear to have a lower COVID-19 vaccination rate than the general public, with around 64 percent so far confirming they're fully vaccinated. Read More

Jun 15, 2021
San Jose

San Jose finally clear of debt from Hayes Mansion real estate sale

San Jose City Government bought the historic Hayes Mansion for $2.5 million in 1985. It proceeded to amass a staggering $60 million debt associated with the real estate. This year, the last of the debt will be cleared, even adding $2.3 million to San Jose's general fund. Read More

Jun 14, 2021
San Jose

San Jose woman dies after truck crashes into sidewalk dining area

On Friday, a suspected drunk driver ran into an outdoor dining area outside a San Jose bar, killing one person and injuring two others.  Read More