Boston doctor connects hospitals and other facilities with necessary protective equipment

BOSTON — A local doctor is playing a pivotal role in a nationwide grassroots movement to fill the medical supply gap.

The Mass General Emergency Medicine Physician launched a website that’s become a central hub—in connecting hospitals and other facilities with much needed protective equipment.

And one doctor, Dr. Shuhan He, emergency medicine physician at Massachusetts General Hospital, is amazed by the outpouring of support sweeping across the nation.

He said the concept began with creating a central hub, tapping into unused protective equipment across the country and identifying where those supplies are needed most.

But it’s turning into something so much bigger, and he believes it’s showing an opportunity to create jobs in the U.S.

“Every second I get is dedicated to this project,” He said. “It’s a true testament to how much people believe in this mission.”

It’s a grassroots mission healthcare workers on the front lines have been fighting for in every corner of America.

He found a way to help unite them together as one.

“My role was to launch the website,” He said. “Over the last week it’s been incredible, just joining together of forces.”

MORE: Mass. creates website for PPE donations and sales, volunteers

“People who work in the top companies, Google, Amazon, technology companies left and right, who essentially have the brains not only to apply their energy, but to solve this problem,” He said.

Dr. He’s website, GetUsPPE.org now plays a primary role in the unprecedented demand for “personal protective equipment.”

It assembles resources and tracks the tireless efforts of volunteers delivering face shields, masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and other items to destinations at a record pace.

“We know in one city alone, Chicago, we’ve had more than 50,000 donations in less than one week,” He said. “It’s different in every city, as long as we can support all the local donations, that’s what matters.”

He says the goal has expanded outside hospitals, also directing donations toward facilities like skilled nursing facilities, rehab centers and jails.

“We probably haven’t completely catalogued all those places and that’s what we’re working to do to identify those needs ahead of time,” He said.

The growing needs across the country, He believes, points to an opportunity for domestic manufacturing to create personal protective equipment in the ongoing battle to slow down COVID-19 transmission.

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“In America one of the things we really relied on is imports. One of the things we’re starting to see internationally, these are essentially declared as national assets and security assets,” He said.

He said “What’s amazing about this there is a true distributing, manufacturing system within this country. If they can make the right specifications the right quality and standards.. NIH, FDA, Hospital level specifications, I think this is an opportunity to revitalize American manufacturing.”

He said he’d would like to see more American manufacturers step up to the plate to help produce the protective gear and supplies that he said will be needed for many months to come.

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