WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW)- Tim Sheridan is an Iraq veteran who had a 25-year career in the military. Now he's a business owner in Wausau and is giving back in a new way during the pandemic, making ventilators.
"To be honest with you, I just wanted to see if we could do it."
For Sheridan’s company, Applied Fab and Machining, creating a ventilator was far outside their comfort zone. They had a lot to learn, in little time.
"From cradle to grave, it was about six weeks," Sheridan said.
Six weeks to their finished product. It won't be used on critically ill COVID patients, but can still fill a huge need in other areas right now.
"From an EMT level, immediate response, to transporting from the OR or the ICU back to the hospital room,” Sheridan says of its use. “There's a niche there."
On hand to give the prototype the blessing it needed was respiratory therapist Sarah Schroeder.
Sarah Schroeder/Respiratory therapist: "They've done a phenomenal job working with engineers to get in the appropriate settings,” Schroeder said.
It may be a simple ventilator, but it comes to a key feature. If there's a failure with the system, an alarm will go off, you can take the top off, and manually pump air with your hands.
The machine will cost $6,100, cheap by ventilator standards, but Sheridan will donate all money made to area food pantries.
"I feel privileged to have served this great country, and I feel privileged to wake up every day to a hot shower and three warm meals, where 90% of people on this earth don't have any of that,” Sheridan said. “So it's our way of saying thanks and giving back in a small way.
Sheridan's company hopes to be able to produce a few hundred ventilators a week. They hope to sell them to the army, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and EMT departments in the greater Wausau area.