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Some veterinary hospitals donating unneeded PPE to their human counterparts

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Got spare PPE? Ready to give it away?

That’s what Andrea Moore, DVM, co-owner and medical director of AAHA-accredited Pinnacle Animal Hospital in San Jose, California, wanted to do. At a time when veterinary hospitals across the US are scrambling to get hold of personal protective equipment (PPE), Moore had some she was looking to get rid of.

Specifically, she wanted to donate them to human health workers.

“We had some face shields that our dental team was using because we couldn’t get the ones they really liked,” Moore said. The facial shields they liked came with masks; the shields they were making do with did not.

When the preferred shields with masks came in and Moore found herself with four, 24-count boxes of plastic dental shields on her hands, she got in touch with an acquaintance who works with a group called HOPPE that sources and distributes PPE for local hospitals in California. “They actually had an anesthesia team that needed these particular facial shields,” Moore said. “They jumped right on them.”

How your hospital can donate spare PPE

The American Medical Association recommends anyone who has PPE to contact their local hospital or health department “to ensure these resources are appropriate and can be distributed based on need,” AMA President Dr. Patrice Harris said in a statement.

You can also visit GetUsPPE.org, a coalition of physicians, scientists, engineers, technologists, and concerned citizens building the nation’s largest platform for grassroots PPE donations. You’ll find instructions on how to donate PPE, written by health-care workers themselves, which include specifications for items they need most as well as how to get those items to donation sites. The website is searchable by region and state.

But don’t go overboard

Scott Weese, DVM, DVSc, DACVIM, a contributing reviewer of AAHA’s Infection Control, Prevention, and Biosecurity Guidelines, recommends that veterinary hospitals interested in donating PPE to human hospitals make sure they understand what their needs really are.

“If the human hospital is running out of masks this week, then definitely we want to try and support them,” Weese told NEWStat. “If they’re just worried they might run out in a month, I’m not sure I would give them masks.” Weese encourages donations but stresses that veterinary hospitals need to make sure their own needs are met, as well. “If we give them all our supplies, we might not get restocked for a while—so we want to make sure it’s going to be useful to them.”

Back at Pinnacle Animal Hospital, Moore is following Weese’s advice when it comes to their own stock of regular face masks, which she describes as “pretty low.”

“We have four boxes left and we can’t get anymore, so we’re conserving them pretty well,” she said. “We’re making it work.”

Photo credit: © iStock/Freer Law