But this setup is designed to be a temporary one, used only when there is a "disaster surge involving multiple casualties with respiratory failure," the researchers wrote in the study. COVID-19 patients typically need artificial ventilation for longer than 12 hours, the amount of time analyzed in the study. And if one patient improves and needs less oxygen, while another worsens and needs more, a ventilator hooked up to two people could not adjust to both of them, as ProPublica reported. Getting too little or too much oxygen can damage the lungs. … [Read more...] about Sharing a single ventilator between 4 patients is possible. But it could be disastrous.