At least 81 ventilators have been returned by Mumbai hospitals, St George Hospital and JJ Hospital, citing its inefficacy to boost oxygen to required levels.
Manufactured by AgVa Healthcare-Maruti consortium, almost 39 ventilators were donated to St George Hospital by private charity organisation Rotary Club, and 42 were donated to J J hospital by American India Foundation (AIF).
The feedback submitted by doctors from both the hospitals on June 19 highlighted that the ventilators were not able to supply 100% oxygen, and were not meant for managing critical COVID-19 patients.
The feedback highlighted that the variation in FiO2 (level of inspired oxygen available to patients) was more than 10%, and the levels achieved was 67% and in non-invasive ventilation, it was only 42%, CNBC TV18 reported.
A senior doctor in St George Hospital told the media that even after multiple tests, the ventilators did not touch 100% oxygen levels.
"The primary objective of any ventilator is to provide oxygen and at varying levels because the oxygen requirement for every patient is different. Some patients require 100% oxygen. We can't keep changing ventilators, we need ones that can achieve 100% oxygen saturation," the doctor said.
The letter also read that as soon as the patients were shifted to other ventilators, they showed 'immediate improvement in oxygen saturation'.
Company's founder Prof. Diwakar Vaish told the media that their machines are not a replacement for full-scale, high-end ICU ventilators, but are good enough for COVID-19 patients. "All our ventilators are fully functional. AgVa ventilators are completely tested by a government panel and qualified on tender specifications. A few specifications were changed in HLL tender before purchase and those were also complied with before suppl," Vaish said.
In response to the doctors' feedback, the company said that it was ready to send higher versions of the ventilator to these hospitals, but the proposal was rejected.
The government has placed orders for 50,000 ventilators, for which Rs 2000 crore from the PM Cares Fund was allocated. Of the total orders, 10,000 ventilators are with AgVa-Maruti consortium.
Each machine manufactured by AgVa costs Rs 2.5 lakh, believed to be one of the cheapest in the world, as the conventional machines cost more than Rs 10 lakh.