More than 2,000 ventilators in the federal stockpile aren’t working because of a lack of maintenance. The news comes as states scramble for as many of the lifesaving machines as possible.
The New York Times reported on Thursday that 2,109 ventilators in the federal stockpile don’t work and have not been properly maintained. The Trump administration is holding 10,000 ventilators.
Maintenance suffered because of a contract dispute involving two companies and the federal government. Vycaire Medical’s contract to stockpile ventilators expired in August, 2019 and the government gave a new contract to Agiliti.
However, Vycaire protested awarding the contract to Agiliti and a dispute ensued. The parties only resolved the issue in January, 2020 but by then maintenance had suffered for five months.
Agiliti’s chief executive, Tom Leonard, spoke to the Times.
“We were given a stop-work order before we’d even started,” Leonard said.
Vycaire Medical’s vice president of U.S. sales, Aric Vacchiano, said his company was taking calls from hospitals about the machines.
“We’re not hearing or seeing units showing up being truly or fundamentally broken,” Vacchiano said. He added that the ventilators ‘probably have not been maintained.’
President Donald Trump criticized the state of New York for asking for more ventilators. The state is expected to need 30 or 40 thousand but the President has dismissed this number.
” Sending many Ventilators today, with thousands being built,” Trump said on Thursday.
The U.S. will need many more ventilators as well as other vital medical equipment as Coronavirus infections have reached 200,000 with more expected.
Darragh Roche is a journalist covering U.S. politics and media