Nike Joins Efforts To Make More Protective Gear For Doctors And Nurses In Fight Against COVID-19

With an expected wave of COVID-19 patients approaching, hospitals in the Portland area continue their desperate attempts to obtain more personal protective equipment for their workers.

Those caregivers received a boost on Tuesday from an unexpected source: sportswear giant Nike.

Nike executives revealed on Tuesday that the company is working with Oregon Health & Science University to develop face shields and possibly other safety gear that will provide healthcare workers with some protection against the highly contagious virus.

Nike’s innovation and manufacturing teams “are exploring PPE designs to support doctors, nurses and others on the front lines of this epidemic,” said Nike CEO John Donahoe. “We know this is a moment in society where the private sector has a major role to play. Companies like Nike must do our part.

“OHSU is extremely grateful to the Nike team for their generous offer to assist OHSU in our coordination with other healthcare systems during this unprecedented time,” OHSU said in a prepared statement. “We are committed to continuing discussions regarding their efforts to develop prototypes of face shields to help ensure the safety and well-being of healthcare professionals. “

Not much else is known about the effort. OHSU officials deferred to Nike. Nike declined to comment beyond Donahoe’s remarks, which came after the company announced its third quarter results.

Almost every hospital and health system in the Portland area is scrambling for additional supplies of PPE. The shortage has developed in part because of many Chinese factories that are shutting them down after COVID-19 outbreaks.

COVID-19 is the disease caused by the coronavirus.

The worst-case scenario is that victims of COVID-19 will overwhelm local hospitals, in part because doctors and nurses contract the virus because they don’t have the proper safety equipment. The Oregon Medical Association told members of a joint COVID-19 legislative committee on Monday that an adequate supply of safety equipment is vital.

“We need a hands-on, hands-on approach to working with the appropriate federal and state authorities to ensure that our suppliers need personal protective equipment and devices,” the group said in a statement. “Currently, many emergency physicians and other clinicians are urged to reuse the same equipment throughout a shift or to keep supplies very limited in some cases. This is a significant risk and we must do everything possible to protect our healthcare workers. .

In response to this concern, donors, large and small, volunteered their time, money and expertise. Multinational companies like Nike, alongside the local efforts of local sewing clubs, have lined up to help.

Retired businesswoman and philanthropist Nancy Lematta on Tuesday donated $ 2 million to Providence Health Systems, which will help fund PPE and other hospital equipment.

Lematta, the 82-year-old widow of Columbia Helicopters founder Wes Lematta, said the only thing roughly similar to COVID-19 she had ever seen was the fear of polio that swept the country in the early days. 1950s.

The PPE shortage has become a burning issue among management and frontline hospital workers.

Privately, doctors and nurses are wondering how the senior ranks of these multibillion-dollar health systems failed to stock up when it became apparent that the coronavirus posed a deadly threat. They also resent the demands of hospitals to keep and reuse masks and other safety equipment, some of which are intended for single use.

Some regional health systems say they have enough PPE at the moment. This is the case with Legacy Health, the $ 2.2 billion a year nonprofit that operates Good Samaritan Hospital in Northwest Portland and Emanuel Hospital in North Portland.

“We’re in great shape right now,” said Legacy spokesperson Brian Terrett.

Internally, the message is not that happy. In a note obtained by The Oregonian / OregonLive, Lewis Low, chief medical officer of Legacy, said that “the shortage is real” and that the organization will rely in part on its employees to remedy the problem.

“There’s no doubt you’ve heard stories from our colleagues or read national headlines about hospital staff in Seattle and other cities concerned about a future where they’re fighting COVID-19 with bandanas and coins from Home Depot, ”Low wrote. Legacy has a “solid plan in place to keep you safe, but we need your help.”

Low said Legacy employees use too much protective gear and said they need to cut spending.

“It’s important to remember that an improperly used mask worn today means that a clinician tomorrow may be without it when they need it most,” Low said in the note.

Legacy asks its employees to return any excess safety equipment that they have put away in a central repository. In particular, Legacy needs masks, gowns, face shields, hand sanitizer, wipes, and lab testing supplies such as swabs.

At OHSU, nurses celebrate the unexpected delivery of hundreds of so-called P-1000 respirators to OHSU emergency department personnel. The base was unaware that the OHSU had hidden the respirators in a warehouse.

The past two days have been difficult in the OHSU emergency department, as a relatively large number of patients with respiratory symptoms compatible with COVID-19 have arrived for treatment. Some nurses were exhausted after working 16 hours a day.

But the delivery of the P100 face masks offered good news.

Dr James Heilman, who works in the emergency department, said he hopes the new masks will ease the strain on PPE. “Obviously this has been a very hot topic internally and in the community,” he said.

Jeff Manning


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