More ventilator manufacturers are sharing crucial repair information following mounting pressure for documents from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) amid increased necessity during the COVID-19 pandemic, reports Engadget.
Ventilator builders sharing crucial repair information following public checks
In March, the PIRG asked ventilator manufacturers to release all repair documentation for essential medical equipment used to diagnose and treat patients suffering from COVID-19. Since then, Medtronic, Fisher & Paykal, and GE have expanded their support, which should help ease the maintnance of life-saving devices through this intense period of global strain.
The PIRG said it had delivered 43,000 petitions that called for the release of ventilator repair information and partnered with iFixit to catalog ventilator service manuals. While ventilator production companies didn't say if they'd modified their respective policies in response to those petitions, it appears that changes were made. Fisher & Paykal are replying to requests for PDFs, and other companies like Medtronic are sharing similar documents in new web portals.
"I want to thank ventilator manufacturers such as GE for providing access to service documents," said Nathan Procter, head of the right to repair campaign at PIRG, in a statement, reports Engadget. "When technicians can't access service manuals, it puts unnecessary barriers to fixing life-saving equipment."
COVID-19 raises stakes for public repair
The need for medical equipment technical manuals is critical during the pandemic, but it's also part of a wider frame of public conversation. For years, proponents of right to repair argued that tech companies are preventing owners and independent technicians from finishing basic repair jobs. In reply, companies like Apple have argued the repairs are too complex or unsafe, but this is debatable. Europe is already increasing pressure for a wider scope of right to repair legislation, and the current crisis has forced demand for servicing medical devices to a level that could see the legislative story make its way into U.S. governance, too.
"We hope this also serves as an example about why restricting repair is harmful," said Procter, according to Engadget. "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."
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