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VUMC donates medical supplies bound for Ukraine

Mar. 17, 2022, 9:56 AM

Shown here are some of the Ukrainian-bound medical supplies in a VUMC warehouse shortly before they were loaded on a cargo plane.
Shown here are some of the Ukrainian-bound medical supplies in a VUMC warehouse shortly before they were loaded on a cargo plane. (photo by Erin O. Smith)

by Wayne Wood

Vanderbilt University Medical Center responded to pleas for help from Ukrainian health officials by donating several tons of medical supplies to be shipped to Ukraine in coming days.

The request for supplies came to VUMC last week through the Polish Ambassador to the United Nations, Krzysztof Szczerski, who was acting on behalf of the Ukrainian Ministry of Health and other health care organizations in Ukraine.

The state of Tennessee joined with private support to lead a drive for donations. The state also provided Tennessee National Guard and Tennessee Emergency Management Agency personnel to support the project and help load the supplies for transport from a VUMC warehouse to Berry Field, the National Guard air base, on Friday, March 11. A plane provided by the Polish government will pick up the supplies from VUMC and other donors to fly to Poland this week.

Once in Poland, the supplies are destined to be sent into neighboring Ukraine, which continues to suffer widespread death and injury and damage to its health care infrastructure at the hands of invading Russian troops.

“Vanderbilt has contributed a wide array of products to care for surgical, trauma, medical and pediatric patients,” said Teresa Dail, chief supply chain officer for VUMC, who has worked to identify and arrange for the shipping of the supplies.

“These supplies include anesthesia circuits, IV start kits/catheters/sets, needles and syringes, assortment of different types of wound dressings, suction catheters, Foley catheters and a variety of antibiotics,” she said. “We ensured the donations were of items that were requested but also of which we had plenty of inventory to ensure day-to-day operations at VUMC were not impacted.”

The 25 pallets of supplies were part of a larger effort all over the U.S. to provide needed medical supplies to Ukraine through health care organizations and private corporations. It is anticipated that two full cargo planes of supplies, one from the Eastern U.S. via Nashville, and one from the Western U.S., will be sent to Ukraine via Poland.

Dail said that everyone at VUMC was eager to help — a key element in making the donation of tons of supplies come together in less than a week.

“The teams were so responsive when I approached them. Everyone jumped on this right away to ensure we were ready to meet their transport timeline,” Dail said.

“It was a privilege for all of us to be part of something that will hopefully help this most unfortunate situation.”

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