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Influential Person

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Audrey Rockhold

Advanced Mechanical Ventilator

University of Missouri, Columbia

Fall 2015 Semester

Ventilation is a common discussion for the respiratory field. What mode, respiratory rate, and tidal volume a patient are getting is an everyday work topic conversation. But who had an influence and helped get it to where it is today. Did one person help make it become more of an easier to do and understand daily topic for respiratory therapist. As you will see from my pick of influential individual is Dr. Forrest M. Bird. A man of many talents who has helped make mechanical ventilation into what it is today.

Dr. Forrest M. Bird, was born June 9th 1921 passed away August 2nd, 2015 at the age of 94. After meeting Orville Wright at an early age, he flew his first solo fight at 12 years of age. He was active in the United States Army Air Corp. He was able to fly almost every aircraft in service at the time of his service. His undergraduate degree was in Agriculture Engineering. He obtained his MD, in the 1940's, and PhD in 1976. Numerous honary degrees. His latest degree was presented by the University of Idaho a degree of Doctors of Science in 2011. Among his numerous prestigious awards Dr. Bird received the presidential citizen’s award in 2008 (University of Idaho, 2012).

During his time in the Air Corp, Dr. Bird was introduced to fluid dynamics. This experience helped him to develop novel fluidic cardiopulmonary support devices (National Inventors Hall of Fame). Because of his experiences flying at higher levels than previous pilots, he was able to develop a pressurized g suit that allowed him to study the lungs (Percussionaire Corp). In his four generations of cardiopulmonary, he had developed several unique methodologies. Most of Dr. Bird’s inventions of support devices employed the novel fluidic logic, without use of electronic forces to create functional applications.

 Developed in 1955 Dr. Bird prototype Bird universal medical respirator for cardiopulmonary cases, in 1971 the baby bird bust on to the market to help with pediatrics and oxygen toxicity blindness (Percussionaire Corp). Dr. Bird to get patients for his prototype would fly his own plane with the prototype ventilator to hospitals wanting the patients that did not have a very good chance. The worst cases with cardiopulmonary failure that is what Dr. Bird wanted to use his machine on.  Upon invention of the baby bird® mortality rate for infants with cardiopulmonary failure went from around 70% to 10% (Percussionaire Corp). Dr. Bird was a man that liked a challenge.

Dr. Bird laid the groundwork for the modern application of mechanical ventilation and the successful treatment of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome. During Dr. Birds time in the navy, there was a need for helping high altitude aviation bombers as well as underwater breathing regulators. This necessitated the invention and usage of demand flow valves for positive pressure breathing. Following the war the flow sensitive valve was incorporated into commercial positive pressure ventilator (Kallet, 2011). Without Dr. Birds invention there would have been many lives lost. To have such a drastic decreased in the numbers of babies that were dying from cardiopulmonary issues and complications from 70% to 10%, (AARC, 2015). Is an outstanding accomplishment that helped propel respiratory therapy to where it is today.

Dr. Birds concept of adding ventilators and also trauma equipment to the helicopters that were transporting combat victims to trauma centers during the Vietnam war that was taking a problem that he seen and making it to where patients were able to be stablalized better during transport, leading to the air ambulances we have today. (Percussionaire Corp). There are so many lives that have been saved from this, there is no way to even being to count the lives saved.

        Dr. Bird help transform the bulk space grabber mechanical ventilator into a device that is not near a large as it was before. Also has made it so that a patient can have a Intrapulmonary Percussive Ventilation, ventilator in their own home that when appropriately used and taken care of works no different than if it were in the inpatient hospital setting. (IFI CLAIMS , 2013)

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