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Devastating IG report reveals how hospitals scoured for equipment

por Dannie Barlow (2020-05-12)


Adidas Superstar 360 Zapatilla Urbana Ni\u00f1o Negra ...A stunning new Inspector Generals report reveals how hospitals have had to make it through massive equipment shortages - scouring auto-body shops, salons, and veterinary offices for life-saving gear.

The report, by the IG for the Health and Human Service Department, details the numerous ways hospitals are using makeshift and donated equipment to provide care for a crush of patients due to the coronavirus.   

Among shortages identified by the IG are  intravenous therapy (IV) poles, medical gas, linens, toilet paper, and food, according to the report. 






Members of the medical staff listen as Montefiore Medical Center nurses call for N95 masks and other critical PPE to handle the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on April 1, 2020 in New York. A new IG report reveals how hospitals are struggling to procure needed gear














The government report tracks with a skein of media reports based on first-hand accounts of doctors and nurses forced to reuse their masks and medical techs who fashioned gowns out of trash bags as the number of infected Americans mounts.    

'To try to make existing supplies of PPE last, hospitals reported conserving and reusing single-use/disposable PPE, Zapatos fabricados en Chile including using or exploring ultra-violet (UV) sterilization of masks or bypassing some sanitation processes by having staff place surgical masks over N95 masks,' according to the IG.

'Hospitals also reported turning to non-medical-grade PPE, such as construction masks or handmade masks and gowns, which they worried may put staff at risk.'

Among those sources of gear outside the normal chain were beauty salons, auto-body shops, vets, paint stores, home supply stores, and online retailers.

Hospitals implemented 'conservation strategies' like reusing protective gear, or avoiding patient contacts that would burn through equipment. 






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This image courtesy of New Balance, shows face masks at the companys factory in Lawrence, Massachusetts. New Balance, which usually produces sports footwear and apparel, is currently scaling production of a general-use face mask and responding to calls for other PPE including gowns and foot coverings







Hospitals have been using makeshift gear to protect themselves







Jeremey Reitman oversees the production of medical quality PPE face shields for doctors and nurses on 3D printers (L) in the garage of his home as his wife Taryn Reitman (R) opens a box of the filament plastic used to make the masks, in the Calabasas neighborhood of Los Angeles, C







Nurses and supporters protest the lack of personal protective gear available at UCI Medical Center amid the coronavirus pandemic on April 3, 2020 in Orange, California. Hospitals nationwide are facing shortages of PPE due to the COVID-19 outbreak







Nurses and supporters protest the lack of personal protective gear available at UCI Medical Center amid the coronavirus pandemic on April 3, 2020 in Orange, California. Hospitals nationwide are facing shortages of PPE due to the COVID-19 outbreak







Boxes of medical supplies on display during Governor Andrew Cuomo daily briefing on COVID-19 pandemic Andrew Cuomo press conference, Jacob K. Javits Convention Center














According to the report, 'One hospital administrator noted that recommendations were not clear about whether cloth masks were good enough, stating, "But if that's what we have, that's what we're going to have to use." One hospital reported using 3D printing to manufacturer masks, while another hospital reported that its staff had made 500 face shields out of office supplies.' 

The IG investigators interviewed hospital administrators March 23-27 as crush of coronavirus patients began to hit. 

Hospitals also turned to their own tinkering amid a nationwide shortage of ventilators. The Trump administration is parceling them out in blocs of several hundred, and announced the happy news that Washington State was returning 400 it doesn't not project it will need.

Hospitals found ways to 'double-up' ventilators for use on two people, and to modify anesthesia machines. 'You jerry-rig the anesthesia machine by using a t-connector, you can support four patients off one of these," said one hospital. 

Other steps taken by U.S. hospitals amid shortages include buying expired protective gear, considering other materials such a 'sandwich bags as thermometer covers, making their own sanitizer with ultrasound gel and alcohol from a distillery, and 'creating supply by accepting handmade gowns and masks from community volunteers or local businesses.'

The report concludes: 'Hospitals reported that their most significant challenges centered on testing and caring for patients with known or suspected COVID-19 and keeping staff safe. Hospitals also reported substantial challenges maintaining or expanding their facilities' capacity to treat patients with COVID-19.' 

Hospitals also reported increased costs and decreased revenues as they cancelled elective surgeries.  















Read more:

oig.hhs.gov/oei/...