MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in the United States, Baptist Memorial Health Care chartered its own FedEx plane to deliver much needed personal protective equipment for nurses and doctors on the front lines.
Saturday, 400,000 isolation gowns were delivered on that chartered FedEx flight coming directly to Memphis from China.
“We’ve never had to order product from China before COVID. We always got the product we needed from our domestic suppliers but then they were running into shortages,” said John Finger, System Director - Corporate Supply Chain at Baptist Health Care System.
John Finger oversees the supply chain for the Baptist Memorial Health Care System in Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi.
For Finger, keeping the Baptist system of hospitals supplied with personal protective equipment continues to be a challenging undertaking during the pandemic.
“It changes every day. I never know when I’m walking into my office who’s going to be calling me, screaming because they’re out of product,” said Finger.
Finger says Baptist employees use 15,000 gowns and between 150,000-200,000 gloves every day.
At the moment, they have one month worth of PPE supplies on hand according to Finger.
Finger says this shipment of 400,000 gowns is critical with flu season approaching and he expects to charter more flights with FedEx, to deliver critical protective equipment in the future.
“I think within several months we’ll continue to do the same. Beginning October there’s this expected surge in cases since flu season’s coming back. So I’m trying to get ahead of the curve so that we have ample supply of product to protect our patients and our staff members,” said Finger.
To help Baptist Memorial Healthcare attain personal protective equipment by donating to their Coronavirus Assistance Fund, click here.