Sharon Pollard, director for respiratory care at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park, N.Y., had eight ventilators left and needed more. Overnight, at least 17 new patients required them.

Teams at the hospital unloaded ventilators delivered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The machines were bound for a central depot to distribute to many other hospitals. Ms. Pollard asked if they would leave some at her hospital, which had more than 400 coronavirus patients, many of them growing worse and others…

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