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Making a Difference: Local retired engineer creates ventilator to be shipped overseas

John Molander's interview with Local 12 news aired last night. You can view the segment with the link below.

Local 12 Interview

BLUE ASH, Ohio (WKRC) - Looking for a way to help is what inspired a few Procter & Gamble retirees to put back on their thinking gaps.

As cases of coronavirus continue to rise, it became clear how they could help, and now that help is about to go global.

John Molander’s nonprofit, Venti-Now, designed a portable and fairly basic ventilator that is being manufactured this week by PMC Smart Solutions. After the first batch of 20 are built, they will be tested and then sent to countries in dire need.

"We are looking at whether or not we ship those to East Africa or to Brazil,” said Molander.

His vision came together quickly after having a conversation with his sister, an emergency room doctor in San Francisco.

"How can we help? And what would help look like? That’s the phrase I always use with people. What would help look like?” said Molander. “As I described it to my sister, she said is there’s any way we can get more ventilators, and that really was the impetus."

The ventilator is relatively cheap to produce compared to ones used in hospitals. Molander says the total cost comes in under $4,000 versus some that can cost up $50,000. It uses a bag valve mask, or BVM, just like the one you see in an ambulance.

"Each cycle it compresses the bag. Air goes through the patient breathing tube,” said Molander, describing the product.

Molander, a retired P&G engineer, says his nonprofit is made up of retired scientists and engineers, plus doctors, nurses, lawyers and FDA experts. Molander adds that P&G and numerous other companies and organizations have donated tremendously to fund the effort.

"You really need a team if you want to go and be successful and get something out there in a timeframe. You need to team people to go and drive for that,” said Molander.

After the first batch, Molander says 50 more will be built and ready to be sent anywhere around the world.

At the moment, Tanzania and Brazil are targets. The hard part, he says, is authorization and health rules and regulations.

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