VOLUNTEER 3D PRINTS $11,000 VENTILATOR VALVE REPLACEMENT PART FOR $1
So we’ve all heard about how much of a lockdown is happening in Italy. The Coronavirus outbreak there has hit hard. Hospitals have been overwhelmed. Doctors have even had to choose who to treat, doing domestic triage. But there like pretty much everywhere, Hospitals have run out of supplies. Most don’t have enough equipment to treat the wave of infected coming in. And that was certainly true for a hospital in Bescia, Italy. One of their ventilators couldn’t work without a special valve part. But the part costs $11,000! Regardless, the hospital contacted the manufacturer. Unfortunately, the manufacturer doesn’t have the expensive part to send them. So a volunteer made the valve part with a 3D printer to help save lives.
MANUFACTURER SAID PRICEY PART OUT OF STOCK, THREATENS VOLUNTEER WITH PATENT INFRINGEMENT
So to say the least, greed isn’t good, especially now. But the volunteer, Fracassi, did reach out to the manufacturer first to get the original 3D valve file from them. So not only did the manufacturer refuse, they threatened him with a lawsuit if he made his own, for patent infringement. But lives are at stake! So Fracassi created his own from scratch. First he made a set of 10 as a test, then 100 more when they came out well. Even more? He gave them to the hospital for free. There’s no telling how long they will last, or if they are as durable as the originals.
IF YOU HAD A CHANCE TO LIVE USING 3D PRINTED VALVE PART, WOULDN’T YOU TAKE IT?
But they cost Fracassi a dollar to make each valve. That’s slightly less than $11,000! Unfortunately, Fracassi can’t send the file he created to other hospitals. The manufacturer is sure to sue him if he does. Some are saying this isn’t safe, and that there is a reason the valve part costs so much. Ok, maybe. But if you need that ventilator, what would you do? One, it doesn’t work and you die. Two, it may work and you may get to live? For me, that binary math is easy. I wonder how long it will take the manufacturer to produce more valves and gouge the desperate market?