PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — As the coronavirus pandemic escalates and hospitals are overwhelmed and underequipped, the need for supplies is ever more pressing.
Among the critical equipment needed are ventilators. DoveLewis, known for its veterinary emergency and specialty services hospital, loaned one of its ventilators to a human hospital in Spokane.
“They’re at capacity and told us that this one ventilator would help many people,” said Dr. Shana O’Marra, DoveLewis’ Chief Medical Officer. “Yes, we’re an animal hospital, but we help people, too, and if we can share our resources to help even more people, we will.”
The mechanical ventilator is actually meant for humans but DoveLewis is also able to use it for animals with extreme respiratory issues. The Spokane hospital officials picked it up Tuesday from DoveLewis.
“A lot of people don’t make the connection our medicine as well as our resources are actually sometimes identical to the human field,” said Dr. Christin Reminga with DoveLewis. “So any way we can provide help to the human hospitals in this situation we definitely want to offer that beause we want to help our community.”
“Knowing that it could even save one human life is well worth the loan,” she said.
They’re also part of a national effort to register surplus equipment used by emergency animal hospitals to bolster the resources of hospitals treating humans “because we want to help our community.”
And they’re even making their own hand sanitizer.
Sharing their resources is a balancing act. DoveLewis is complying with Gov. Kate Brown’s executive order to make any surplus personal protective equipment available.
But their supplies are diminishing and their staff is working on practices that will prolong their supplies and still allow for around-the-clock animal care.
Helping the community also means staying open now to treat animals with medical emergencies.
“We have an emergency and an intensive care unit where we’re able to provide care 24/7 on an emergency basis,” Reminga said. “Because of that we’re considered an essential business.”
They’ve adjusted some policies to help protect clients and employees. For example, people are encouraged to check in from the parking lot by calling from their car. Everyone is asked if they have any signs of illness or possible exposure to COVID-19. If they do, staff will come out to get the animal from the car at the curb.
They’ve also opened 2 lobbies, so those inside the facility can keep a safe distance. All elective procedures have been postponed to conserve medical supplies. DoveLewis is also limiting visits to animals in their ICU.
As for pet owners in general, Reminga said she wants “them to know we’re here for them and they can give us a call. And we do have new protocols in place to try and keep things as safe as possible, but that shouldn’t keep them from coming if they really do need to.”