In the News

Help for Haiti: Respiratory Care Cares

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February 1, 2010

The AARC is keeping close tabs on developments in Haiti and all the ways the respiratory community can and is helping with the relief efforts. Here are the first of our reports:

Vendors Step Up to Assist

Respiratory care vendors are going above and beyond to assist the earthquake victims and we’d like to take this opportunity to acknowledge their efforts and thank them for providing much needed assistance.

Here’s what our Corporate Partners are doing:

  • CareFusion is donating 100 CareFusion ventilators and 200 infusion pumps, along with 100,000 bottles of silver dihydrogen citrate, a water purification product that can purify up to 20 million gallons of water. “We are working now with non-profit agencies to ensure the products are in position to help as soon as possible in the relief effort,” said David Schlotterbeck, chairman and CEO. CareFusion’s donation is valued at approximately $3.1 million.
  • Covidien shipped pallets of wound dressings, surgical kits and gauze, and other items, and is delivering a significant donation of pain medications through its pharmaceuticals segment. The company has also partnered with Project HOPE to provide products for the USNS Comfort hospital ship and is working to meet ongoing needs for other Covidien products. The company is matching U.S. employee contributions of $25 or more dollar-for-dollar and is supplementing employee donations in other regions of the world.
  • Dräger has provided 16 Carina-home ventilators at the request of the University of Miami, where an international effort to create a 300-bed field hospital at the Port-au-Prince airport has been underway since shortly after the earthquake hit. Dräger has also sent two of its respiratory therapists, Frank Caminita, RRT, and Robert Dutruch, RRT, to support the medical care being delivered at the field hospital in Port-au-Prince.
  • Phillips Healthcare has shipped 29 ventilators to the country and has provided phone-based inservice education to six physicians on how to transition a patient from an anesthesia machine to one of the company’s V60 ventilators. The company is also sending one of its clinical specialists, Eugene Fordyce, RRT, to Haiti to assist the critical care physicians and nurses in one large hospital in North Haiti, and is working to connect respiratory therapists already on the ground with physicians who have questions about the application of mechanical ventilation.

Here’s what other respiratory vendors are doing:

  • Sepracor has reached out to the American Red Cross International Fund, responding to a call for financial contributions to allow the Red Cross to focus on the direct needs of those impacted by the devastating earthquake. In support of the Red Cross’ relief effort, Sepracor provided a $75,000 contribution made on behalf of the company’s employees.
  • Invacare Corporation is donating more than $105,000 worth of supplies to MedWish International, a Cleveland, OH-based non-profit organization assisting with relief efforts. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by the earthquake in Haiti,” said A. Malachi Mixon III, chairman and chief executive officer. “In light of this terrible tragedy, Invacare is working with MedWish to coordinate the donation of supplies to the relief effort.”
  • Kimberly-Clark has committed $1 million over five years to the American Red Cross’ Annual Disaster Giving Program, and a portion of the gift is designated for the International Disaster Fund, which helps Red Cross organizations outside the U.S. when disasters of this magnitude strike. The company has also donated 20 pallets of medical supplies valued at $125,000, along with other products valued at $50,000, and is matching dollar-for-dollar all employee donations worldwide to the American Red Cross up to $300,000.
  • AMN Healthcare launched the AMN Cares Haiti Relief Program to provide a way for its employees to make a financial contribution to a charity of their choice via a payroll deduction. Steve Wehn, AMN’s senior vice president in charge of the program, said in a message to the team, “Many of you have shared with me personal stories of your direct family, clients, and health care providers that have a connection to Haiti, and the staggering devastation and suffering that is occurring. It once again supports how closely connected we are as a community.”
  • Westmed, Inc., is collecting cash contributions from its employees for donation to the American Red Cross and has committed to supplying various medical products to the CitiHope International Organization, which will provide immediate relief and long term support. In addition, various related medical products will be provided through the company’s Caribbean distribution partner, Puerto Rico Hospital Supply.
  • ndd Medical Technologies Inc. has donated 10 Easyone™ Spirometers and boxes of supplies to Medicines for Humanity ™ for distribution in Haiti . The company is also providing education on the devices and plans to continue to offer support to the clinics and hospitals that receive the donation to help in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients with respiratory diseases.
  • SeQual Technologies has donated 10 of their Eclipse portable oxygen concentrators and other oxygen equipment to the relief effort. The $50,000 donation is being made in conjunction with Operation USA and Partners in Health. “Through our past experience of providing the Eclipse in emergency and disaster situations, we have a clear understanding of how helpful this small device can be,” notes Ron Richard, CEO of SeQual Technologies. “We are humbled to play even a small role in the Haiti relief.”

HHS Launches Web Site for Haiti Volunteers

A new web site set up by the Department of Health and Human Services is providing much needed information to health care professionals who would like to volunteer to assist the earthquake victims.

The site notes volunteer opportunities in disaster settings such as the one in Haiti are rare, but invites professionals to e-mail their name, clinical area, specialty skills, degrees, and language capabilities (Haitian Creole or French speakers are especially in need). HHS will then log the information and share it with the United States Agency for International Development, the lead agency handling the U.S. response.

The web site also encourages health professionals to participate in the Emergency System for Advance Registration of Volunteer Health Professionals (ESAR-VHP) and the Medical Reserve Corps, two ongoing programs that pre-approve medical professionals for service in the event of a disaster situation here or abroad.

Media Notes Participation of AARC Members

Four AARC members have recently been featured in media reports on medical missions to Haiti:

  • Bob Stafford in this article on the NBC affiliate web site out of Burlington, VT. Bob traveled to Haiti with a team from Fletcher Allen Health Care in Colchester, VT.
  • Jean Dorce in this article in the Press of Atlantic City. Jean is a member of a team from Shore Memorial Hospital in Atlantic City, NJ.
  • Sr. Airman Brooke Lohr in three recent articles: this one in the Cincinnati, OH, Enquirer, this one in the Dayton, OH, Daily News, and this one in the Air Force Material Command that pictures her shaking hands with President Barack Obama. Both the president and vice president were on hand to greet Lohr and other members of her Critical Care Air Transport Team at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida. Brooke and her team have made four trips into the country to help evacuate victims.
  • HM2 Carrie Hansen in this article in the Jax Air News. Carrie was part of a rapid response team from the Naval Hospital in Jacksonville, FL, that went to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to care for victims who were being transported out of Haiti shortly after the earthquake struck.

How You Can Help

Consider making a financial donation to the Red Cross or another reputable organization assisting with the relief efforts. Other organizations may be found on the InterAction web site.