Help for Haiti
In an outpouring of compassion, home medical equipment providers and manufacturers have reached into their warehouses and their pockets to donate durable medical equipment and supplies to Haiti in the aftermath of the horrific Jan. 12 earthquake.
For Jennifer Arnett and other employees of Premier Home Care in Louisville, Ky., the response is not simply compassion for fellow beings; it is personal.
In November, Arnett, a physical therapist and home care coordinator, joined eight others from Premier on a mission trip to Haiti's next-door neighbor, the Dominican Republic, to provide medical care to residents of impoverished villages.
"The clinic where we worked was in a small village, and a lot of the children we saw were Haitian," recalls Arnett. "The first day, we saw about 260 kids, and the sickest of those children were Haitian children."
When the quake hit, it galvanized the folks at Premier.
"Being on that mission trip a few months ago made it more real. We had met those people; we had developed a kinship with them," says Arnett.
In addition to dipping into their own warehouse, Premier employees began tapping all their referral sources for medical supplies. The support has been wonderful, Arnett says. So far, she estimates, Premier has garnered close to a half-ton of supplies and equipment to be funneled through G.O. Ministries, which has staff in Haiti.
"We are relying on individuals with private planes [to fly the supplies to the Dominican Republic], and then it is driven across into Haiti," Arnett says. "It goes right to the people."
Arnett is grateful that thousands of others in the HME field are helping, too.
Just a few among those efforts:
Raymond Arthurs, owner of First Care Medical Supplies in New Jersey, worked with the Jersey Association of Medical Equipment Suppliers to collect 15 van loads of wheelchairs, walkers, commodes, oxygen concentrators, gauze, bandages and clothing.
The New England Medical Equipment Dealers Association is working with the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H., on behalf of Partners in Health and Mission of Hope in Grand Goave, Haiti, which operates an orphanage for approximately 40 children as well as schools and churches.
The Florida Alliance for Homecare Services and the Accredited Medical Equipment Providers of America put out an urgent call for a range of HME, and donations continue to come in from across the country, according to FAHCS Executive Director Sean Schwinghammer.