WARWICK, RI — India’s health care system’s struggling against overwhelming COVID-19 cases and Kent Hospital doctors are marshaling local aid for their overseas colleagues.
Drawing on their experiences with war zone disaster relief work and refugee camps, Dr. Jinen Thakkar, Hospitalist, and Dr. Laura Forman, Chief of Emergency Medicine at Kent Hospital, are organizing a cargo flight of critical medical supplies.
Thakkar and Forman said Rhode Island was fortunate that hospitals were able to quickly obtain supplies. Patients never had to go without oxygen, or a bed. Staff never had to go without gloves and masks.
India was not so fortunate.
“Hospitals have run out of beds, medications, and oxygen to treat patients. Patients are dying outside of hospitals, waiting for a bed, and health care workers are putting their lives in danger by working without necessary PPE. Family members are desperately trying to find oxygen cylinders and supplies for their sick loved ones,” said Thakkar.
They are asking for monetary and in kind donations of medical supplies to aid in addressing this devastating humanitarian crisis.
“Having worked on the front lines in Rhode Island when we had the highest per capita number of COVID-19 cases in the world, we’ve been struck by the situation facing our colleagues and patients in India. We wanted to do something to help, and have gotten a flight donated. We’re obtaining donations now, and plan to have them flown out within 2 weeks,” said Dr. Laura Forman.
Forman and Thakkar are working with the World Health Organization’s South-East Asia Regional Office (WHO SEARO) which is coordinating the donation distribution in India.
“We’ve got school kids across Rhode Island writing cards and letters to ship with the donations. It’s quite a turnaround for us, to be in a position to help just a few months after shutting the field hospital,” Forman said.
Kent Hospital’s India Relief effort has so far received more than $65,000 from 320 donors. Donations include 45,000 N95 masks. Donations are still welcome until the end of this week, they note.
Medical supplies needed in India:
- -PPE (gloves, masks – both N95 and surgical, gowns, face shields, goggles)
- – Oxygen supplies (empty cylinders, ventilators, concentrators, BiPAP and CPAP machines, pulse oximeters, tubing, masks, cannulas)
- – Monitoring and resuscitation supplies
- – Rehab supplies
The website link to donate through the Kent Foundation (501 c3 – tax deductible) is: https://foundation.kentri.org/pages/india-covid-crisis-relief
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