A team of local doctors led by Talib Khan, an anaesthetist, has devised a technique by which the life support system, commonly known as the ventilator, can support four instead of one critical patient in hours of crisis.
Mantasha Rashid, a local social worker, said on a tweet, "Splitters were tested in SKIMS today in case of ventilator crisis. With the help of splitters, one ventilator can support 4 patients (not for ideal conditions). Thanks to those who supported this innovation."
Commenting on the innovation, Kashmir's noted pulmonologist Parvaiz Koul told IANS, "It is not for ideal condition usage. Yes, in a crisis situation the ventilator support outlet can be split into four and used as life support system for four patients.
"But one must understand that a ventilator is designed to support one patient and there are technical issues with its use in terms of having subjects with matched compliances in diseased lungs with a potential threat of cross infection. Nonetheless, it is an emergency last resort measure and may be required in dire circumstances."
He agreed that in a crisis situation when the load on a hospital like the super specialty Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) in Srinagar is heavy, the splitter innovation can be used to handle the patient load.
Koul said the splitters have been tested on the machine (ventilator) and not on human beings.
He said there are around 40 ventilators at the SKIMS and these are definitely not enough to deal with any foreseeable situation that might arise due to the spread of coronavirus in Kashmir.
He said there are less than 100 ventilators in the Valley for a population of around 70 lakh people.
He also said that Alexander Clarke has reported the development of splitters about eight days back with a caution that it has not been tried on humans.
It must be mentioned here that US based Prisma health company has named the splitter appliance as VESper and has got emergency use authorisation from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).