With medical gear in short supply to fight the novel coronavirus, donations are urgently needed.
The heroes of COVID-19, the medical professionals on the front lines fighting the highly contagious virus, are going into battle every day without the supplies they need. And it’s getting worse.
“Resources are very slim. We have no medications to keep these patients even ventilated, let alone ventilators,” said local ER nurse Mary Mcdonald in a chilling Instagram video that has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times and shared by numerous media outlets. She was describing recent conditions in an emergency room in Southfield.
“Medications like Fentanyl or Propofol that would keep a patient sedated while they’re intubated, we’re out of. We’re out of Tylenol,” she said. “We’re going to have to start making life or death decisions in regards to people’s care.”
The numbers of sick patients continue to rise in Michigan and across the country, overwhelming our health care system. As a result, area hospitals including Beaumont Health, Henry Ford Health System, University of Michigan Hospitals and Detroit Medical Center are among those making an urgent plea to the public for donations of new N95 masks, surgical gloves and gowns, safety goggles, hand sanitizer, antimicrobial wipes, ventilators and more. Home-sewn reusable masks are now being accepted by Beaumont.
“We have heard from people all over Michigan who want to donate medical supplies, equipment and money to help with Beaumont’s efforts to protect our staff and care for our patients,” Beaumont Health Senior Vice President and Chief Development Officer Margaret Cooney Casey said in an email blast. “We are so grateful for all the community members who are pitching in to help.”
Beaumont has set up drive-up donation bins at the Beaumont Service Center in Southfield. The hospital is still accepting financial donations as well as medical supplies. Many other hospitals also are collecting dropped-off supplies.
“It’s a mess out there right now as far as equipment goes,” says Dr. Adam Rosh, an Emergency Room physician, former program director at Detroit Receiving Hospital and founder of the medical education and technology company Rosh Review. “It’s a failure. There’s no better way to describe it. It’s a complete failure. We just weren’t prepared.”
Rosh says the U.S. needs tens of millions of masks alone, every day. Each time doctors treat a COVID-19 positive patient, or a patient presumed to have the virus, they must remove and throw away their masks, gloves and other personal protective equipment. With all the doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals out there working 24 hours a day, it adds up quickly.
“Health care facilities are the No. 1 place that disease gets transferred,” Rosh says. “You have patients who do not get isolated right away, and they end up spreading to people around them. We have health care providers going from room to room. The best hygienic measures are to protect patients by changing your gloves and changing your mask when you go from one room to the next.”
To make matters worse, as the demand for supplies increases, prices are rising. Governors and health care officials are calling on President Trump to use a wartime law called the Defense Production Act to direct U.S. businesses to scale up production of personal protective equipment and ventilators. So far, that hasn’t happened.
“This is truly scary,” said Mcdonald. “We are completely out of resources, there are no masks, there are no gowns, we’re running out of gloves. If you have any extra resources, consider donating them.”
Rosh, who has been in regular communication with emergency room physicians across the country, says he’s working behind the scenes himself to get a mask manufacturer and a distributor to make and ship supplies. In the end, he hopes what our leaders will learn from COVID-19 is the value of preparedness.
“What’s really interesting, the things that are going to get us through this and save us are not high tech,” he said. “They’re basic public health measures.”
Where To Donate
The most urgently needed items are N95 and disposable face masks, safety goggles, face shields, disposable gowns, gloves, surgical caps, foot covers, antimicrobial or bleach wipes, hand sanitizer and respirators. Everything must be new. Donations can be dropped off at the following locations:
Oakland County: 2350 Pontiac Lake Road, Waterford, Monday – Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Karmanos Cancer Institute: 4100 John R, Detroit, MI 48201 Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. A drop box will be located near the front entrance.
University of Michigan Hospitals: North Campus Research Complex, 2800 Plymouth Rd., Ann Arbor, Monday-Friday 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Beaumont: Medical supplies, including hand-sewn reusable masks, are being accepted for drop-off from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday – Sunday at the Beaumont Service Center main entrance, 26901 Beaumont Blvd., Southfield. Financial donations can be made at www.beaumont.org/giving or by mailing a check to Beaumont Health Foundation, 26901 Beaumont Blvd., 5D, Southfield, MI 48033.
Henry Ford Health System: Financial donations can be made to the HFHS COVID-19 Emergency Needs Fund at henryford.com/giving.