📑 Life and breath – There’s a strange, and deeply human, story behind how we taught machines to breathe for critically ill patients

Bookmarked Life and breath – There’s a strange, and deeply human, story behind how we taught machines to breathe for critically ill patients by Sarah Ruth Bates (Aeon)

Future ventilators will be even more complex. A journal article on the past, present and future of the ventilator declares: ‘The key term that will be used to identify future ventilators will be smart!’ The machine will assess its own performance and might even help to decide whether its use is futile or not.


How much can, or should, the ventilators of the future help doctors make decisions about when to turn off machines? The ‘ventilator’, once a caring human using arm muscles as proxy for patients’ paralysed diaphragms, is now a programmed device – and that programming could some day make decisions of life and death. The machines that have extended life might, in time, help to determine when it ends.

Sarah Ruth Bates discusses the history of ventilators. Starting with the Galen’s discovery in regards to physiology, Bates discusses the beginnings of a machine that could push air in and out to today ventilators which are able to adjust to the needs of different scenarios.

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