News Release

STATEMENT: After public outcry, ventilator repair restrictions loosen

U.S. PIRG delivered 43,000 petitions calling for the release of ventilator repair information, and manufacturers are responding.

BOSTON -- U.S. PIRG has been calling on manufacturers of ventilators to release all the service information needed for biomedical technicians to repair that equipment. Increasingly, those companies are posting the requested information online. 

GE recently posted a form to access ventilator service documents, explaining at the top of the page: “To help navigate this crisis and ensure ventilators are maintained as quickly as possible to get these vital systems back into patient care, we will be providing access to the technical reference manual and PC service application for our Carescape R860 and Engstrom ventilators during the pandemic without the 4-day in-person training that GE Healthcare usually requires before providing such material.”  

Fisher & Paykal responded with requested PDFs, and other companies pointed to new web portals that include documents. Zoll has informed U.S. PIRG "The service manual is available to customers and can be obtained by contacting our technical support department at 1-800-348-9011." Medtronic has posted service manuals for most of its ventilators, and also included additional design information for older models that could aid others in building ventilators. Gay Gordon-Byrne from the Repair Association also reported that manufacturers are responding to technicians who approach them with requests for documents. 

 

Nathan Proctor, Director of U.S. PIRG’s Right to Repair Campaign, made this statement:

“I want to thank ventilator manufacturers such as GE for providing access to service documents. When technicians can’t access service manuals, it puts unnecessary barriers to fixing life-saving equipment. 

“I hope manufacturers can agree: With lives at stake, this is no time to be proprietary. 

“We hope this also serves as an example about why restricting repair is harmful. It’s time we removed these repair restrictions for all the equipment in hospitals. We hope that manufacturers continue to expand their cooperation with independent technicians and hospital in-house biomeds to provide what they need to fix equipment. They should also work with sites such as iFixit that provide more efficient ways to find service information. We are all in this together.” 

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