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Friday, Jan 27, 2023
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Doctors Search for Protective Gear

Hospital systems are exhausting every avenue to ensure personal protective equipment is available to physicians and nurses on the front lines. Providence St. Joseph Health, for one, recently announced a partnership with Alaska Airlines to transport 210,000 hospital-grade masks and other supplies to its 51 hospitals across the western U.S. That includes sites in Tarzana, Mission Hills and Burbank. As part of the national 100 Million Mask Challenge, masks will be assembled by Kaas Tailored, a Seattle-area furniture manufacturer. Raw materials to create the masks were brought to factories in Los Angeles, Phoenix and Dallas, according to a statement from the airline. “Our heroic health care workers are in need of masks, gloves and other protective equipment in short supply due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said a spokesperson for Alaska Airlines. “During these chaotic and confusing times, good news supporting hard-working Americans is exactly what people need right now.” Also, locals such as Encino pediatrician Dr. Daniel Bruckner are helping to bring personal protective equipment to those who need it via a GoFundMe campaign. After being denied masks from his usual suppliers and having no luck with online vendors such as Amazon.com Inc., Bruckner used proceeds from the campaign to purchase 20,000 FDA-approved masks from other countries, with 10,000 already donated and another 10,000 on the way. Boulevard Pediatrics and Valley Pediatrics, both in Encino, as well as Tarzana’s MVP Pediatric and Urgent Care, Primary Care Sports Medicine and Agoura West Valley Pediatrics have received mask donations from Bruckner’s campaign. He has access to 500,000 more, according to the fundraising site. “When the coronavirus began to spread throughout Los Angeles, my colleagues and I at Balboa Pediatrics were down to our last five masks,” Bruckner said in an email to the Business Journal. “I was able to source a mass quantity of FDA-approved surgical masks from around the world and have them shipped immediately. I started a GoFundMe page to raise money to continue my mission of donating masks to local pediatricians, pediatric specialists, OBGYNs, and lactation consultants.” Bruckner has raised more than $23,000 to date and has expanded efforts to include face shields and isolation gowns. Considering the World Health Organization’s warning more than a month ago that such equipment will be subject to “rising demand, panic buying and misuse,” seeing businesses and individuals work together to lessen risk is heartening but may not be enough to combat a surge. “It’s important to note that hospitals do not maintain stockpiles of supplies, and certain criteria must be met to access state and federal supply reserves,” Adam Blackstone, vice president of external affairs for the Hospital Association of Southern California, said in an emailed statement. “Hospitals, following the scientific guidance from the CDC and (California Department of Public Health), are taking steps to ensure that they allocate (personal protective equipment) effectively and based on the level of risk for health care workers.”

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