Russia has indefinitely suspended the usage of Aventa-M artificial lung ventilation machines. The recently produced ventilators are suspected of causing two deadly fires in the past week, killing six people.
The ventilators, made in Ural’s Instrument Making Plant, have been manufactured since April 1, 2020, in response to Russia’s ever-growing number of Covid-19 patients.
According to Russia’s health watchdog Roszdravnadzor, the ventilators were used to provide medical care to patients at the S. I. Spasokukotsky City Clinical Hospital in Moscow and St. George’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, where fires occurred on May 9 and May 12.
The artificial lung ventilation machines are thought to be potentially responsible for the loss of six lives. On May 9, one patient in Moscow died after a ventilator reportedly malfunctioned. Yesterday, in St. Petersburg, five people perished after a fire broke out in a hospital treating patients with Covid-19. According to reports, the victims were receiving artificial lung ventilation. Later that evening, TASS news agency explained that both hospitals were using ventilators from the same factory.
According to a source of Russian news agency Interfax, the fire could have been caused by the ventilator being overworked.
“The ventilators are operating at the limit. According to preliminary data, an overload occurred, and the apparatus ignited, causing a fire,” the source said.
An anonymous source speaking to newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets called the device “absolutely unpredictable,” and noted that it cannot be left unattended.
The same brand of ventilators made international news last month, when Russia sent a batch to the United States in a package of medical aid. According to the US’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the ventilators have never been used and were not deployed to hospitals.
“Out of an abundance of caution, the states are returning the ventilators to FEMA,” wrote Janet Montesi, an agency spokeswoman.
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