Thursday, September 3, 2009


The other day I was watching 60 minutes and they re-aired a clip that they had done a couple years back. It was about Forrest Bird, the inventor of the Bird respirator. Bird is now 88 years old, and is still enjoying life flying his planes and working long days. He first invented a makeshift respirator for his friend who had trouble breathing. Soon, he was trying to find a way to make an affordable, portable respirator for anyone to use. He has saved millions of lives. If you'd like to watch the video clip from 60 minutes, click here. I encourage you to take the time to watch it. It is very good.



Matthew Smith said...

How sad that some guy in the comments on that news story could only say that most people who need them brought it all on themselves by smoking! Reminds me of why I rarely read comments on news sites, because they are usually full of bigoted nonsense, but I was looking for a comment from you.

Talking of the march of progress (Bird's invention I'm talking about, not meanness and bigotry), have you heard of diaphragmatic pacemakers? I was recently reading another blog by a young quad in California (Alana Swagerty) who got off her ventilator because of one of these in 2007 (the blog is here but you'll have to look at the older entries). Is that something you'd consider?

Rai said...

Ah,you were right there Jenni that was a good clip :) very enlightening. And i do agree w/ matthew on the comments some people just love to stirl up trouble.

Steve said...

I saw that 60 minutes story too.
I didn't realize that guy was still alive, let alone flying airplanes!

When I was in RT school back in the early 1970's, there were only two brands of respirators )..Bird and Bennett . They were rival companies.
BIRD respirators were used for everything,but at that time, they were used primarily for what they called IPPB treatments ( basically a nebulizer treatment under pressure.) The BIRD was considered so revolutionary at the time, that they actually devoted a whole semester to learning about it.

Almost every portable transport ventilator today, is a result of BIRD.

PS...Diaphramatic pacemakers were very popular in the late 1980s. They allowed some quads to stay off the vent for extended periods.

Jenni said...

That is definitely something I would consider. I've heard it has worked for many, including Christopher Reeve. I'll have to look into it somewhere.