Elon Musk Donates Breathing Machines to Hospitals and the Media Pounces

No, they’re not frontline ventilators. Yes, they’re useful.


"Elon Musk's promised ventilators never delivered to hospitals, governor's office says." So proclaimed the CNN headline this morning, alongside a piece criticizing the SpaceX and Tesla CEO for allegedly not following through on his promises to provide more than 1,000 ventilators to California hospitals.

Is that the truth? Not entirely.

CNN got the story from a Sacramento Bee editorial, which states that the office of California Gov. Gavin Newsom has said no hospital had reported to them that it had received any ventilators from Musk. That doesn't mean Musk never sent them; it means the governor's office wasn't informed that these hospitals had received anything. Musk has responded on Twitter to CNN with messages from hospitals and medical centers (and not just in California) appreciating the donation of ventilators and showed documentation of where the ventilators have gone.

Reason reached out to one of the institutions referenced in Musk's tweets, Mammoth Hospital in Mammoth Lakes, California. A spokesperson for the hospital confirmed that Musk and Tesla sent them 10 units, but added that they aren't primary ventilators. These are BiPAP units. (The acronym stands for "bilevel positive airway pressure.") It's a type of ventilator that can help with breathing, but it's not as intrusive (or as useful) as the ventilators that are being brought to bear for the most dire of COVID-19 cases. The Mammoth Hospital representative said that the hospital is currently working to convert the BiPAP units for use with their primary ventilators, and that it is continuing to look for additional ventilators.

There are medical concerns that BiPAP units can introduce additional problems being adapted for use in this context, including possibly aerosolizing and spreading the coronavirus when patients breathe out. Some medical innovators are using 3D printing to make parts to allow the BiPAP machines to be adapted for more invasive uses.

They're not a perfect solution to a ventilator shortage, but they're not nothing. The Food and Drug Administration's emergency guidance published in March specifically permits BiPAP machines to be adapted to assist people with COVID-19 who need help breathing, as long as the adaptations mitigate the concerns of aerosolization.

The Sacramento Bee's editorial notes Musk's donations of BiPAP machines elsewhere, in New York and other countries, as a point of criticism because they're not as good or as expensive as full ventilators. These machines cost $800 apiece instead of $50,000. But they can be useful when adapted and used carefully!

That isn't the only outlet criticizing Musk for donating these machines. The Week cites NPR's report on how similar ventilators in a nursing home in Washington state actually contributed to the spread of coronavirus, using it to argue that Musk might actually end up making things worse. But this lumps the BiPAP machines together with CPAPs, a different though similar machine. As NPR reports, the BiPAP machines can more readily be adapted to incorporate a breathing tube, which would keep the patient from breathing out the coronavirus and possibly infecting others.

BiPAP machines are not a replacement for primary ventilators, but they aren't nothing. Whatever Musk's flaws, these donations don't number among them.

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  1. CNN headline… is that the truth?

    Gee I wonder. Leftists hate Musk for not being a leftist cheerleader and making loads of money. Maybe they’re jealous he fucks so many babes.

    1. Jealousy and envy are the leftist base emotion.

    2. No, normal people are annoyed that a rich media-whore who bought a bunch of bipap machines, slapped stickers on them wants praise he apparently thinks he’s due. Just like last time he needlessly injected himself into a crisis, he’ll be acting butthurt and probably suing someone soon enough, that’s his happy place. But I can dream that he finally goes Galt someday. Please, the sooner the better.

      1. “No, normal people are annoyed that a rich media-whore who bought a bunch of bipap machines, slapped stickers on them wants praise he apparently thinks he’s due.” Your cite was probably eaten by your stupidity on the way here.

      2. Geez…talk about someone being butthurt. Whats the guy ever done to you? He’s a successful business guy with a larger than life personality who likes attention…so what? How many ventilators of any kind whatsoever have you donated thus far? As for him going John Galt…if he did people would notice he was gone…can’t say the same if you disappeared…

  2. When CNN donates a thousand ventilators/BiPAP machines, let me know.

    1. CNN Chyron – …CNN matches Elon Musk’s donation of ventilators…

      1. Hell just froze over! 🙂



    Socialists that don’t understand much of anything


      /more socialists


        /socialists the next generation


          /socialists after the next generation.

    2. What’s with all these capitalists and their polluting shit? Isn’t an open air market where they sell a bunch of germy Bush meat the pinnacle of freedom? That, and the right of the mentally ill to go out and buy an assault weapon.

      1. What’s with retards bringing up shit that has nothing to do with the subject at hand?

        1. Retardation. I’m not sure if it causes someone to be a fucking lefty, or if being a lefty causes retardation.

      2. Still upset Marxists didn’t invent any of the shit you’re using to shit post?

    3. also Iran.

  4. Did Mr. Musk ever get proper credit for rescuing those children from a flooded cave?

    1. You mean your basement?

      1. You mean his mom’s basement.

      2. I’d definitely vote Kirkland for “commenter most likely to have someone chained up in their basement”.

    2. Everyone behaved badly re Musk & the Cave : I’m not a cave diver (not that skilled) but have done some cavern diving and know a bit about the cave diving discipline. I knew right off the bat Musk’s gizmo was useless in anything shy of perfectly optimal condition. Nevertheless, it was petty of the cave diver on-site to sneer at Musk’s attempt to help, however misguided it was. And then it was double-petty for Musk to reply in kind, even upping the ante in childishness. You’d think people would have had different priorities at the time, but no……

  5. Good for Musk.
    He’s an odd dude, but likeable.
    Unfortunately, it seems he’s generally a grifter

    1. What makes clingers like grifters? Other than the gullible part.

      1. You mean the part where other people are more gullible? Do you know what a grifter is? I get that you really wanted to say something here, but your eunuch level trying so hard fell, unsurprisingly, short. A hilariously dumb attempt, rev, and I thank you for it

        1. You labeled Musk a grifter and said he was likeable. I asked what — other than gullibility — makes clingers (such as you) like grifters. You are just a ready-for-replacement dumbass, Nardz. And a bigot. And a culture war loser, thank goodness. Enjoy watching better people shape progress against your wishes for the rest of your life.

          1. Trying to explain away your imbecility doesn’t help. asshole bigot.

          2. I didn’t much care for the Clintons, the Obamas, or the Bidens

    2. He does have one huge, on-going accomplishment: revolutionizing heavy lift to LEO. For that, I admire him.

  6. Speaking of media bullshit. This campaign against the PRC and how they’ve faked their numbers is pure psyops 101– promulgated by the usual right-wing fake news outlets in defense of Dear Leader’s Deep State swamp creatures. It is really something to behold. Feels like 2002-2003 all over again when we were told about Iraq and it’s vast chemical weapons stockpile.

    1. Non-ironically quoting Salon? Goodness…

  7. Really? CNN and NPR?

  8. Look, it’s too much ask that CNN does some basic fact checking before getting their “rich man bad” boners off. They can’t cum and fact check at the same time.

  9. biggest crook in the history of mankind probably ought to donate some shit once in awhile yes

  10. It’s a MARVEL how anyone watches CNN (Jim Acosta is just a little shit that’s all he is) or reads the Ascot Times (aka New York Times). Then again, I can’t understand how anyone could possibly vote Democrat or Liberal. This coming from a guy who has always been a ‘swing’ voter or Independent. I mean, the Democrats are withholding aid for crying out loud. Petty tyrants all around. Fuck ’em all.

    1. No one watches CNN. Ratings are in the toilet and what they have is probably from the places they pay to air the programming (like airports).

  11. There have been multiple reports that the Primary Ventilator may be causing more harm than help. That a BiPap Ventilator may be more helpful to the patient with COVID-19. True that there is the risk of increased exposure to those around the COVID-19 patient. Kudos to Elon Musk and other for Donating Ventilators of any kind and the unappreciative twits should know what to do with themselves.

  12. He’s a great guy! All sexy girls on deutsche porno filme knows that!

  13. CNN et al seem to be under the [wrong] impression that you either sit there with no symptoms, or are a critical care patient that requires a full intubated ventilator. Totally ignores fact that many people can just go on a BIPAP and never need a full on machine. Which frees up those “real” ventilator machines for those who truly need one.

  14. “They’re not a perfect solution to a ventilator shortage, but they’re not nothing.”

    3 grafs later:

    “BiPAP machines are not a replacement for primary ventilators, but they aren’t nothing”


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