Polish arms dealer Andrzej Izdebski signed a contract with his country’s government to procure ventilators for COVID-19 treatment, but when he couldn’t get them in time to meet agreed upon deadlines, the government canceled the order and he was left with unwanted ventilators and debt, reports Reuters.

Months later, as a second coronavirus wave strains Poland’s hospitals and raises its COVID-19 death toll, Izdebski has provided less than a fifth of the 1,241 ventilators the government agreed to buy for about $53 million, the government and Izdebski say.

Izdebski’s struggle to deliver ventilators to Poland opens a window into the extraordinary lengths [to which] countries have gone to obtain the devices in the pandemic. While wealthier countries raced to secure the breathing machines from big manufacturers in China, Europe and the United States, poorer countries like Poland had a choice when the pandemic swept the globe: go on a waiting list that could delay shipments by months or turn to little-known third-party brokers.

Izdebski went with the brokers.

Read more from Reuters.