BOSTON, March 27, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- #GetUsPPE (GetUsPPE.org) announces the publication of a perspective piece in the New England Journal of Medicine on the critical need for ventilators and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as the Covid-19 pandemic ravages the U.S. and the world.
The piece, "Critical Supply Shortages - The Need for Ventilators and Personal Protective Equipment during the Covid-19 Pandemic" by leading emergency room physicians Megan L. Ranney, M.D., M.P.H., Valerie Griffeth, M.D., Ph.D., and Ashish K. Jha, M.D., M.P.H., can be accessed here.
Drs. Ranney and Griffeth are co-founders of GetUsPPE.org, a grassroots coalition to address the shortage crisis of PPE. Together they call for immediate and concerted action to address a critical shortage of supplies crucial to fighting the growing Covid-19 pandemic.
"We wrote this piece because we are afraid. We are afraid of the lack of ventilator equipment for the wave of patients we see coming. We are afraid of getting ourselves, our patients, our families, and our colleagues sick." said Dr. Griffeth. "If we do not act now our frontline physicians will end up quarantined. Without immediate action the wave will crash upon a system that does not have the equipment or the medical professionals available to treat those who will desperately need intensive medical care to survive."
The authors lay out a clear set of immediate actions that we as a united nation must take to prevent endangering the entire health care system. Slowing and reversing our current trajectory will require a coordinated effort from all sectors: local and national government, the private sector, and health care providers themselves.
Dr. Ranney adds, "We took an oath, we are here, and we will not back down. We just ask that you continue to demand that our government back us up. Wuhan, Italy, Spain, Iran, Seattle, San Francisco, and New York have shown that the surge is coming. We must be equipped with the right tools we need to fight."
GetUsPPE.org supports this call for leadership and coordination of efforts from the highest rungs of our local and federal government. In the interim, the coalition calls for communities to take action now.
"The need for PPE today is critical. While we wait for global supply chains to ramp up we must take immediate action. We saw an opportunity to more efficiently empower communities to connect their donated, approved supplies with local institutions who urgently need them. www.GetUsPPE.org (#GetUsPPE) is now the largest coalition of PPE donor database projects nationwide with over 1,000 hospitals represented," said Dr. Shuhan He, MD, co-founder of GetUsPPE.org. "Together, we are stronger, more efficient than we were alone, and we are putting critical PPE in the hands of our front-line defense, now."
A ventilator is a machine designed to provide mechanical ventilation by moving breathable air into and out of the lungs, to deliver breaths to a patient who is physically unable to breathe, or who is breathing insufficiently. In order to be placed on a ventilator, the patient must be intubated. This means having an endotracheal tube placed in the mouth or nose and threaded down into the airway. Patients that need a ventilator require monitoring by specialty respiratory therapists, physicians, and nurses. There are serious risks of inappropriate airway pressure, respiratory rate, and oxygen regulation while under ventilator support. The need for mechanical ventilation is a common feature in patients requiring admission to the intensive care unit. In these cases, a medical ventilator can be life-saving and is considered a critical piece of equipment.
About Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) includes items such as respirators, face shields, gowns, booties, and gloves that protect workers from viral particles on surfaces and during other situations of close patient contact. When treating patients suspected of having coronavirus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently recommends contact and droplet precautions, which requires only a procedural mask, gloves, and eye protection. But emerging research  demonstrates "that viable virus could be detected in aerosols up to 3 hours post aerosolization" – and prevention of aerosolized (i.e., airborne) spread requires a specific kind of respirator mask (N95) capable of filtering out virus-containing droplets. Healthcare workers simply cannot work safely without these protections.
About #GetUsPPE (GetUsPPE.org)
#GetUsPPE (GetUsPPE.org) is a movement founded by emergency physicians on the frontlines of the COVID pandemic. Today, it has become a leading national grassroots effort to equip front line health care workers with the protective equipment they need. It is the largest coalition of PPE donor database projects with new projects being merged on a daily basis.
GetUsPPE.org establishes a centralized nationwide platform to share information and connect our community - it does not collect and distribute PPE. Our platform empowers citizens to take direct action in their own communities and connect with their local healthcare providers in need. With our platform we seek to advance three key initiatives:
- Advocate for more PPE production (#GetMePPE).
- Send, receive, and coordinate donations for PPE among the community and medical professionals.
- Unite the maker community to validate designs that can be widely shared among the medical community and easily printed in local manufacturing facilities.
Visit www.GetUsPPE.org today to find out how you can take action.
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 Letter to the Editor, NEJM, Published online March 17, 2020, https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc2004973