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Hospitals turn to snorkel masks to ease respirator overload

This article is more than 12 months old

As hospitals face an overload of Covid-19 patients struggling to breathe, innovative medical workers are turning to snorkelling masks to stop lungs from collapsing.

The idea started in Italy with hospitals in other nations taking note.

"They are to be used for patients with severe respiratory problems. The aim is to avoid having to intubate the trachea of the patient and put them on a respirator," said respiratory physiotherapist Frederic Bonnie.

Respirators are in short supply because of the sheer number of patients, and the snorkelling mask could be a stop-gap measure for patients on the brink of intensive-care treatment but for whom neither beds nor respirators are available.