A hospital in Italy was in desperate need of a special valve that was required to save the lives of patients who have contracted COVID-19. The manufacturer was unable to meet the high demand for the pricey $11,000 valves, so volunteers stepped in to help.
According to Business Insider Italia, Cristian Fracassi and Alessandro Ramaioli offered to use their company's 3D printer to create the needed valves. The pair joined up with Massimo Temporelli, who is the founder of FabLab, an Italian manufacturing company.
The men reached out to the company that makes the valves asking for the blueprint so they could help supply the hospital with the life-saving medical devices. The company, which has not been identified, refused to turn over the plans and threatened to sue the men for infringing on their designs.
The threat didn't stop Fracassi, Ramaioli, and Temporelli. They managed to recreate the valves and came up with three prototypes in just a few hours.
"There were people in danger of life, and we acted," Fracassi wrote in a Facebook post.
After some testing, they managed to create ten working valves, which were used to help dying patients. They have since created about 100 more valves, and Italy's Minister of Technological Innovation Paola Pisano shared a photo of them on Twitter.
Complimenti a Cristian Fracassi, @temporelli73 e tutte le persone che lo hanno aiutato nella impresa di stampare in 3d le valvole mancanti per i respiratori dell'Ospedale di Chiari a Brescia.
(qui l'articolo completo https://t.co/QYZu6x9X1T) #SolidarietaDigitale #iorestoacasa pic.twitter.com/dF3G2RJY8S
— Paola Pisano (@PaolaPisano_Min) March 15, 2020
Fracassi was very humble in his Facebook post and wrote that they were just doing what needed to be done.
"First, don't call us, as some have done, heroes. Sure, people were going to die, but we only did our duty. In fact, refusing would not have been a cowardly but a murderous act."
While some reports claimed that it cost the men just $1 to make the new valves, Fracassi explained that the true cost was higher but said that money is not the issue, especially during a health crisis.
"The rest - rights, certifications, costs and controversies - should remain silent in the face of the undeniable superiority of the sacred right to life."