Fanshawe supplies PPE, ventilators to regional health care providers
Credit: ISTOCK (MIHALEC)
Fanshawe College has sent personal protective equipment (PPE) and ventilators to health care providers in the London-Middlesex region to help frontline workers tackle 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
A media release on the College’s website said that Fanshawe’s School of Health Sciences and Retail Services sent PPE to the London Middlesex Primary Care Alliance after a call for safety equipment. Retail Services donated their entire inventory, which includes 40 boxes of latex gloves, 200 pairs of safety glasses, 40 scrubs, 120 respirator 3m 95 masks, five gowns, and 10 bottles of woosh disinfectant. The School of Health Sciences also donated gloves, masks, and surface wipes that would normally be used by students.
The Thames Valley Family Health Team stored the PPE and will use it during the most critical time for health care workers. The PPE donations came after the College supplied ventilators typically used by respiratory therapy students to the London Health Sciences Centre, as reported by the London Free Press.
All Fanshawe campuses have been closed as of March 18, with classes cancelled from March 16 to 20. Online classes began on March 23, with in-person classes pushed back to a later date.
'With the pandemic and the potential shortage of this resource, we thought there’s no purpose on having those ventilators sit in a lab doing nothing, especially if we're not able to do the hands-on approach with our students,” David Wall, a respiratory therapy instructor who helped send the ventilators elsewhere, said. “We were discussing how to potentially utilize them.”
After talking to the associate dean and dean of the School of Health Sciences, the idea was well-received and progressed through the College’s senior vice-president of academics, Gary Lima.
The College sent all 11 invasive mechanical ventilators, which use a tube, to Victoria Hospital. The equipment is being assessed by the hospital’s biomedical team to ensure the equipment meets the patient care standards. The non-invasive ventilators, which use a mask, remain at Fanshawe for the time being because they currently do not meet the standard of care for COVID-19 patients in critical condition.
In a follow-up phone call with Interrobang, Wall said that the donated ventilators are part of a deployment group run by the LHIN (Local Health Integration Network) and could be sent elsewhere in London or any other Ontario municipality if need be.
“This COVID-19 is an incredible deterrent and issue that we're facing right now in our health care system,” Wall said. “Unfortunately, if patients progress in their illness and they become critically ill, that’s when these ventilators might be of use to hospitals who are short on the resource.”
He added that the ventilators help patients with severe pneumonias exchange oxygen in their lungs.
“In the worst case scenario, often times, we have to give medications to put the patient to sleep, put a breathing tube in and then take over control of their breathing,” he said. “That's what these ventilators do.”
Wall is also impressed with how quickly the College responded to helping London’s health care system with the equipment donations.
“I want to say thank you to Fanshawe for supporting the community like this. It's a huge, huge thing.”
More information about how COVID-19 affects Fanshawe can be found on fanshawec.ca/covid-19.