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Providing Lifesaving Neonatal Ventilators to Developing Countries

February 2018

The Palmers

The morning after Erica and Kindall Palmer’s son was born, he turned blue from lack of oxygen.

“He was instantly hooked up to all kinds of machines, and the doctors discovered he had a heart defect,” says Erica, a senior in communications. “A newborn ventilator helped him breathe for the next two months.”

This experience brought home to the Palmers the importance of ventilators, which are standard equipment in U.S. hospitals but not usually in developing countries due to their traditionally high cost.

The Palmers learned about BYU Marriott’s Ballard Center Y-Prize Challenge, a humanitarian competition which focused in 2016 on distributing low-cost ventilators developed by BYU engineering students in 2014. Joined by fellow BYU students and Dr. Stephen Minton, a neonatologist at Utah Valley Hospital, the Palmers developed a business plan to distribute the ventilators and won $75,000 to do so.

“We get used to what we have in the U.S., but the Ballard Center brings awareness of key issues that mil-lions of people are affected by every year,” says Kindall, a recent graduate in economics. “The more programs we can execute, the more blessings we and people around the world will receive.”

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