Entertainer Janet Chia (賈永婕) yesterday continued distribution of high-flow nasal cannula (HFNC) machines, an oxygen supply system used in hospitals, after saying that she had raised enough money to buy 342 units.
Deliveries began on Saturday, with the machines expected to help public hospitals the most as they generally have to go through time-consuming procurement procedures before acquiring such devices, she said.
HFNC systems, which cost NT$270,000 per unit, are highly prized by hospitals, because they can be used instead of ventilators and even perform better, health workers said.
Photo: Wang Wen-lin, Taipei Times
The device allows awake prone positioning of people with breathing difficulties, and they can eat without assistance, reducing the chance of infections for carers.
Tan Che-kim (陳志金), a doctor at Chi Mei Hospital’s intensive care unit, said that HFNC treatment can help avoid the need for intubation and improve a person’s survival rate.
Chia said that she learned about the need for HFNC machines on Thursday from a relative of a medical worker, and was told there is high demand for the devices, even at National Taiwan University Hospital.
She said she immediately contacted a manufacturer and together with her husband purchased 15 to donate to local hospitals.
We are “racing against time under the current circumstances,” she said.
Chia also encouraged her friends in business circles to work with her to raise funds, quickly raising enough to purchase an additional 237 machines.
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Sunday night extended her “deepest gratitude” to all those who have donated medical equipment in the past few days.
“HFNC and negative-pressure isolation chambers are important items needed by hospitals right now,” she wrote on Facebook.
“The donations demonstrate the community’s support for medical workers and assist the government in improving medical capacity,” she said, adding that 200 of the 500 HFNC machines purchased by the Central Epidemic Command Center had been delivered earlier the same day.
She promised to distribute them as soon as possible.
Chinese Nationalist Party Chairman (KMT) Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) yesterday said that the government should be ashamed that it must rely on private individuals to do its job.
The so-called “early deployment plans” that the government proclaimed last year have been failing one by one, leaving Taiwanese wondering whether it has sent out any equipment at all, he said.
The government must stop being obstinate and accept the people’s goodwill with gratitude, he added.
Additional reporting by Lin Liang-sheng
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