Dr. David Sunwall, Director of the Utah Health Department, notified my Father and I about a great Article in the New York Times "Hospitals Short on Ventilators if Bird Flu Hits ." This article addresses the problem of a ventilator shortage during a pandemic and his numbers agree well with our estimates. The article mentions the Vortran Automatic Resuscitator as a cheap and efficient example of a vent that could be stockpiled and used during a disaster or pandemic (http://www.vortran.com/automatic-resuscitator.htm). This vent is purely pressure controlled and seems to operate akin to the magnet and bobbin "minivent" described in Anesthesia ( Cohen AD, The minivent respirator. Anesthesia. 1966 Oct; 21(4):563-8). The vent doesn't generate the optimal pressure/volume curve for ARDS, but hey, it only cost 50$.
The article also points out that even if we had all the necessary vents, we wouldn't have enough people to monitor them. One idea to remedy that would be to include ventilator theory and operation as part of Advanced Disaster, Cardiac, and Trauma Life Support curriculums. Also, Basic courses should also include vent theory as they do Automatic Cardiac Deffibrillator (ACD) operation.
This article also corrects my last email. The Strategic National Stockpile has 4,000-5,000 vents total, and not per cache. I support additional research in feasibility of using such a emergency vent for a pandemic scenario as well as investing money in stockpiling such devices.