March 27, 2020 / Kevin McCoy and Katie Wedell, USA TODAY
As the coronavirus threatens the nation’s health care system, hospitals are seeking tens of thousands of ventilators to help patients breathe as the disease attacks their lungs.
But someone needs to operate those breathing machines. And there aren’t enough specially trained personnel, health care experts and reports warn.
“They’re very complex machines, and you don’t have enough respiratory therapists,” said Dr. Thomas Frieden, a former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“You’re going to have to train nurses and others to run them,” he said. “This is not a surprise. We’ve known for more than 15 years that this is one of the biggest chokepoints … in saving lives in a pandemic.”