2020-12-29

COVID-19 patients increase dramatically, hospitals to be supplied with vital equipment

 With a huge influx of patients with COVID-19 in recent weeks to the nation’s hospitals, Lithuania’s medical institutions have come face to face with not only personnel shortages but also of medical equipment necessary to treat patients and in turn save lives. Following an urgent inquiry into the needs of hospitals, this week SBA purchased and gifted a large quantity of much-needed medical equipment ranging from lung ventilation machines and oxygen supply systems to intensive care beds and vital function monitors.

“We quickly contacted a large number of Lithuania’s hospitals, and within a few days saw the real picture, and we discovered what hospitals need the most right now to save people’s lives. There’s a massive demand on the market for this equipment and it is being bought out around the world, and so due to the complicated public procurement procedures hospitals must adhere to, or due to a lack of funding, the equipment needed for treating COVID-19 would have been belated,” says SBA Group president Arūnas Martinkevičius.

“Our team contacted many suppliers, with the core condition being how quickly we can receive the equipment. Upon finding a suitable supplier, we delivered much of the vitally important equipment by Christmas, while the rest will arrive in the coming few days,” he continued. 

 Martinkevičius believes that the purchase of equipment being so prompt can only be perceived as a minor Christmas miracle, and hospitals will be gifted fifteen artificial lung ventilation machines which will ensure the breathing of both severely ill patients and also in semi-severe cases. 

Another nine oxygen flow therapy systems will supply oxygen to patients and could help them avoid lung intubation, and nine vital function monitors will constantly monitor patient health, with sixteen oxygen concentrators supplying oxygen inwards that do not have a centralised supply system. Fifteen emergency care beds will offer the capacity to receive more severe patients, while a portable x-ray machine will allow prompt diagnosis and monitoring of patient condition to ensure timely and vital decision-making. Seventy-five infusion pumps will automatically dose and inject medication to virus-struck patients, while five disinfectant mist systems will eradicate the infection in hospital premises. The equipment is valued at a combined 479 thousand euros.

According to A. Martinkevičius, a huge effort was made to aid not only the large hospitals but also smaller ones, which are also in dire need of crucial equipment to combat COVID-19. The SBA Group’s support will reach the Santara Clinics, the Hospital of Lithuanian University of Health Sciences Kaunas Clinics, Klaipėda University Hospital, the Republican Hospital of Šiauliai and the Republican Hospital of Panevėžys. Equipment will also be sent to hospitals in Raseiniai, Šilutė, Ukmergė, Utena and Visaginas.

“With COVID-19 wards urgently expanding due to the vastly increased infection numbers and with more and more severely ill patients hospitalised, the demand has increased for vital equipment to treat them, but we simply cannot satisfy the demand. This timely and earnest aid is the best gift to our patients and us during this most difficult period because we will be able to aid more people. The country’s citizens can give another gift by simply remain at home,” the head of the Santara Clinics professor Feliksas Jankevičius says.

Director general at the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences Kaunas Clinics professor Albinas Naudžiūnas emphasised that this is a notable support for the largest institution, which treats COVID-19 patients in Lithuania. “We have around 250 COVID-19 patients who require urgent aid. Most of them are plagued by oxygen insufficiency and so, this aid is particularly valuable and will markedly contribute in the difficult struggle with the pandemic,” professor A. Naudžiūnas spoke.

“With emergency wards being packed full in hospitals with severely ill patients, we need more oxygen machines and artificial lung ventilation systems, which have become invaluable as they help sustain life. After receiving essential equipment for treatment, we distance a potential excruciating decision – which patient should be saved first,” deputy director for medicine at the Raseiniai Hospital Odeta Borkertienė says.

SBA also gifted hospitals the equipment they lacked during the spring lockdown, where purchases were made and medical institutions in Lithuania were gifted ventilation machines and cleaning-disinfection machines. 

In the face of the healthcare crisis, other aid initiatives have also been embraced. Staff at Utenos Trikotažas have been working voluntarily over weekends, sewing and handing over 15,000 single-use medical masks which were in insufficient supply at the time. Social workers across all municipalities received FFP2 respirators. 

And just before Easter, volunteers at SBA companies visited more than 1,000 elderly individuals across various Lithuanian cities giving out healthy food packages. SBA Group’s companies also supported musicians in the regions. Including the latest equipment, the combined contribution of SBA Group and its staff this year during the pandemic has almost reached a combined 650 thousand euros.

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