Johnson County Community College loans ventilators to KU Hospital to help treat COVID-19

Tracking Coronavirus

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Johnson County Community College recently donated life-saving equipment to the University of Kansas Health System.

The college said it’s doing its part to help fight the coronavirus by loaning nine ventilators and donating unused lab supplies.

“We wanted to help because we’re educators. We’re no longer in the field practicing as respiratory therapists. My whole team really wanted to do something to help,” said Renee Portmann, JCCC’s director of respiratory care and neurodiagnostic technology.

KU Health System said it doesn’t have a shortage of medical equipment, but they’re preparing for what could happen if the number of people with coronavirus continues to rise.

“It’s hard enough to do two lungs in one patient. Trying to do eight lungs with one machine, I think that’s dangerous and is actually going to cost more lives than it saves,” said Dr. Steve Stites, KU Health System’s chief medical officer.

From the ventilators to the cleaning equipment for machines and gloves, health care workers on the front line of this pandemic are grateful.

“What I’ve seen over the last few weeks is this amazing outpouring of support, whether it’s been donations or a video or sending something to our staff or words of encouragement,” said Tammy Peterman, KU Health System’s chief operating officer.

Portmann said depending on how the coronavirus outbreak develops, she and her colleagues could be joining the hospital workforce soon.

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