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This object is currently on display in room 108 as part of Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics.


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Graphic Panel, Assisted Breathing

This is a Graphic panel. It is a part of the department.

Most modern ventilators actively force air into the lungs. In contrast, several recent devices change the air pressure around the body to make the chest expand and contract passively. This gentler form of ventilation is more like natural breathing. These new devices are reviving the principle of the iron lung, which saved thousands of lives during the polio epidemics of the 20th century.

From a patient perspective, assisted-breathing technologies can be traumatic. Intubation can damage the mouth, throat, or lungs even as it helps people survive. Breathing devices can also trigger profound mental distress and delirium.

Doctors and nurses are also at risk. Breathing devices expose health care workers to aerosolized pathogens. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many hospitals suffered more from staff shortages—a human crisis—than from a lack of equipment—a technology crisis.

Its dimensions are

H x W: 91.4 × 215.9 cm (36 in. × 7 ft. 1 in.)

If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Graphic Panel, Assisted Breathing |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=30 September 2022 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>