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A request for donations of technical equipment that can help medical personnel maintain protective equipment and patients who can communicate with families

This request comes from my wife’s classmate, Dr. Rachel Sussman, who works at Stanford Health Care. She explained the idea much better than I could. So I reprint (with permission) her Facebook post on the subject:

My public community hospital (VMC-O’Connor in San Jose, CA) needs help. I will be in my clinical COVID department on day three. Yes, we need PPE. However, we also have an urgent technical need that can indirectly contribute a great deal to our PPE needs. We need about 50 iPads or similar devices to be placed in every COVID patient room and every ER room. This would allow doctors and nurses to communicate with and evaluate patients without entering the room and using a set of personal protective equipment each time. Perhaps more importantly, one of the horrifying things I’ve already seen with this disease is that patients who die die alone. Family cannot visit. We tried to use smartphones as an emergency measure, but in our hospital most of our patients are too sick, old, not English speaking or too poor (they don’t have a smartphone) for this to be practical. If friends have contacts with a major technology company that could provide this type of device as a charity donation, it would make a big difference in the lives of doctors, nurses, RTs, and patients in the coming weeks and months. Photo of my n95 marks post-COVID shift.

Edited to add: While I appreciate the offers of individual device donations, hospital administrator and IT are already dealing very thinly with this pandemic. Individual donations of different models etc. will simply not be practical to coordinate and rest. Thank you!

If you are able to help please contact me by email (contact details here), and I will in turn put you in touch with relevant people on the ground. For reasons that Dr. Sussman states in her post, I CANNOT facilitate donations from individual devices. What is needed are bulk donations that can be quickly adapted to work as an integrated system, if that’s the right terminology.

Although I am not an expert, it also seems to me an idea that could possibly be adapted by other hospitals. At the very least, it deserves attention as long as there is a shortage of personal protective equipment.