LONDON — Senior British doctors have warned that 250 ventilators the United Kingdom bought from China risk causing “significant patient harm, including death,” if they are used in hospitals, according to a letter seen by NBC News.
The doctors said the machines had a problematic oxygen supply, could not be cleaned properly, had an unfamiliar design and a confusing instruction manual, and were built for use in ambulances, not hospitals.
The British case is not an isolated one, and it comes as a stark example of a procurement problem that has plagued many countries as the coronavirus has spread throughout the world.
Since March, many governments have been scrambling to buy more medical equipment — much of it from China — to make up for large gaps in their supplies. While much of this equipment has been vital in combating the pandemic, some has been faulty or unsuitable.