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Joint effort on Maui produces 40 ventilators for COVID-19 response

  • COURTESY BRIAN PERRY / COUNTY OF MAUI
                                Dr. Dan O’Connell of HNu Photonics demonstrating to Maui Mayor Michael Victorino and Managing Director Sandy Bas how a bridge ventilator works.

    COURTESY BRIAN PERRY / COUNTY OF MAUI

    Dr. Dan O’Connell of HNu Photonics demonstrating to Maui Mayor Michael Victorino and Managing Director Sandy Bas how a bridge ventilator works.

A joint effort involving Maui County and tech companies has led to the production of 40 bridge ventilators to help aid health care providers in their COVID-19 response.

The partners of the effort are Maui County, Maui Economic Development Board and local tech companies HNu Photonics and Maui Innovation Group.

HNu Photonics and Maui Innovation Group were led by Dr. Dan O’Connell and Dr. Ned Davis, respectively.

“These ventilators are critical to treat people in upper respiratory distress, including those suffering from COVID-19,” Victorino said in a news release. “I thank Dr. O’Connell and Dr. Davis for stepping up to take on this incredible challenge. Now, our health care system will have greater capacity to meet patient needs.”

The ventilators will be donated to Maui Memorial Medical Center and other health care providers.

“We are now receiving requests coming in from San Diego, New York, Maine and multiple countries including the U.K., India and Mexico,” Dr. O’Connell said. “We literally stopped work on our NASA contracts to develop this life support medical instrument to support Maui County’s needs to fight the coronavirus.”

Davis, founder and CEO of Maui Innovation Group, said the company is producing an additional 24 bridge ventilators for local medical providers and plans to have 12 completed by the end of the week.

“We’ve been on conference calls every day, including Easter Sunday, working on these ventilators,” Davis said. “We wanted to be ready if there is a second wave of COVID-19 in Maui County, especially with how rural our community is with places like Hana, Molokai and Lanai. It’s truly been a fascinating process and we’re just honored to be involved with this effort to help our health care workers.”

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