Following a number of articles relating to Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s donation — or lack thereof — of medical-grade ventilators to hospitals around the country, Breitbart News reached out to multiple hospitals Musk listed as evidence of his donations to confirm if they had received the ventilators needed to treat the Chinese virus.
There has been much controversy surrounding Tesla CEO Elon Musk lately, this time in relation tot he billionaire’s donation of medical equipment to hospitals. Breitbart News reported earlier this month that Musk purchased Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAP) machines which he then stuck Tesla stickers on and shipped to New York, but these machines are used to treat sleep apnea and are not the “invasive” type of ventilators needed to treat those suffering from the Wuhan coronavirus. Invasive ventilators can cost upwards of $50,000, the machines Musk delivered cost $800.
It is possible that BiPAP ventilators could be modified or fitted with a filter of some sort, meaning that they could possibly be used to treat some coronavirus patients, but without a proper filter attached, BiPAP machines can actually spread the virus further. The Sacramento Bee recently published an article about Musk’s plan to donate 1,000 ventilators to California hospitals, stating that no hospital in California had received ventilators.
The Sacramento Bee editorial board wrote:
No one can blame Newsom for doing everything possible to secure the equipment California needs to lower COVID-19’s death toll. But he also has a responsibility to be honest and transparent. His failure to set the record straight on Musk’s apparently empty ventilator promise – after grandly announcing it – erodes trust.
It’s understandable that the governor wishes to innovate and disrupt – to “move fast and break things,” as they say in Silicon Valley. But Newsom hurried to get in front of the TV cameras without worrying about the details, making his big Musk announcement look more like a case of “move fast and fake things.”
Following CNN’s reporting of the Sacramento Bee article, Elon Musk himself took to Twitter to defend himself, providing a list of the hospitals which he claims have received ventilators from Tesla. Musk’s tweet can be seen below:
These were based on direct requests from their ICU wards, with exact specifications of each unit provided before shipment
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 16, 2020
Musk has since shared other tweets that include screenshots of emails with representatives from the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services and a screenshot of a post by the CEO of Mount Sinai Hospital, David Reich, in which he thanks Musk for donating Resmed ventilators, it seems that many hospitals only received BiPAP machines.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 16, 2020
Breitbart News reached out to the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services to request further information on the medical equipment provided by Musk. A spokesperson for the LA County DHS told Breitbart News in a statement:
The LA County Department of Health Services received 100 Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure units —ResMed Model S9 VPAP ST—late March from Tesla. They have been distributed to hospitals in our system and are being used as intended: as breathing and airway support, reducing the need for certain patients to be placed on mechanical ventilation.
Tesla also donated 20 Gallons of Hand Sanitizer and 860 face shields that have been distributed within the County Hospital System.
We are grateful to Tesla for their generous donation in support of patients with COVID-19.
For any company/entity interested in donating, they should send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Michael McLaughlin, assistant director of Rutgers Nurse Anesthesia Program, recently clarified the use of BiPAP and CPAP machines in the treatment of the Wuhan coronavirus to Fox News. McLaughlin noted that due to patients having to wear a mask in order to use the machines, this meant they were not ideal for coronavirus victims.
“This is not recommended for patients suffering from coronavirus as the mask can leak and send aerosolized virus into the air possibly infecting health care workers and others in close proximity,” McLaughlin said. With ventilators, patients are intubated which provides a secure airway seal, but many have noted that invasive ventilators are usually used in extreme cases.
“Ventilators are being used to treat coronavirus when patients need more than [an] O2 mask or nasal oxygen to maintain oxygen saturation,” McLaughlin said. “It applies pressure to help open infected lungs and better oxygenate patients.” McLaughlin added: “BiPAP machines have been converted to ‘ventilator-like’ machines, but cannot offer the full support that a true ventilator can. It only offers partial support as the patient still needs to be breathing on their own. This could still be beneficial to a certain patient population suffering from coronavirus when a ventilator is not available.”
This means that while the BiPAP machines provided by Musk do have a medical use and with the proper modification and conversion could possibly be used to treat those suffering from the coronavirus, they are not the type of ventilator machines that are used to treat those suffering severe respiratory issues and as many experts have noted, they have a greater chance of spreading the coronavirus. The comment from the LA County DHS indicates that they are not converting BiPAP machines to use with Chinese virus patients, but instead hope to “reduce the need” for other patients to use much-needed invasive ventilators.
LA Times reporter Russ Mitchell tweeted that Tesla’s donations to hospitals were contingent on taking “thank you shots” to be posted to social media. One hospital reportedly declined a donation based on the strings Tesla attached.
@elonmusk Employees at two hospitals told me your delivery of Bipaps was contingent on their posing for thank you shots to be posted on social media. One declined, one accepted. Was there ever such quid pro quo? I’d ask Tesla’s press office but it no longer exists.
— Russ Mitchell (@russ1mitchell) April 16, 2020
Breitbart News also contacted another hospital Musk listed, Mammoth Hospital, which did not reply to a request for comment.
Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address email@example.com