Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare received a donation of N95 masks from the Arkansas Conference of the United Methodist Church in preparation of an anticipated increase in COVID-19 activity. Credit: Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – In the face of a public health crisis that is taxing the healthcare infrastructure across the country, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare (MLH) is implementing creative new solutions to protect both caregivers and patients. For weeks, the Supply Chain team at Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare has relentlessly pursued supplies that meet our high performance standards. As supplies from traditional sources become more difficult to acquire, Methodist Le Bonheur is turning to alternate sources to obtain the personal protection equipment needed for Associates, providers and patients as they continue to provide optimal care for patients.

MLH is collaborating with the local and state health departments to receive distributions from the Strategic National Stockpile allocated by the State of Tennessee and Shelby County Health Department. MLH has received separate distributions which included thousands of N95 masks, as well as gowns, surgical masks and face shields. MLH has also turned to its established internal disaster reserve inventory for personal protection equipment. MLH partnered with local companies outside of the healthcare industry to secure PPE, including those that have converted factories that typically produce carpet or other household goods and are instead producing the PPE needed for those on the frontlines of the COVID-19 battle.

The hospital system is also using innovative methods to make sure our Associates are protected. The MLH clinical engineering team created a face shield prototype. It met the exacting standards of our infection prevention experts, and they are now producing 1,000 face shields a week. At Methodist Olive Branch, Associate and Registered Dietitian Mary Karen Dixon adapted a pattern to manufacture isolation gowns in-house out of plastic sheeting. Team members now create 150-250 personal isolation gowns per day. Upon learning of the initiative, Home Depot in Horn Lake donated all the plastic sheeting in the store to Methodist Olive Branch to make the gowns. At Methodist Le Bonheur Germantown Hospital, a team from the operating room is sewing an alternative to the N95 mask. This idea originated from the University of Florida Health’s Department of Anesthesiology. The masks are made by using Halyard 600 instrument wrap, which blocks 99% of particulates. The material is typically used to wrap and protect surgical instruments and can withstand hydrogen peroxide sterilization. This supply of masks will be stored for use in the event that our standard supply is not sufficient.

MLH has leveraged our relationships with United Methodist Church conferences to accept donations of personal protective equipment. The Mississippi Conference of the United Methodist Church donated N95 masks from their emergency flood kits. Revered Doctor Albert Mosley, MLH Senior V.P. & Chief Mission Integration Officer, drove more than 120 miles to Winona, MS to pick up that donation. He also drove to Little Rock to pick up N95 masks donated by the Arkansas Conference of the United Methodist Church. In addition, United Methodist Church volunteers sewed and donated 1,000 facemasks to be worn by MLH Associates in non-patient care positions so the supply of surgical masks could be used exclusively by Associates in patient-facing roles.

Over the past few weeks, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare has received thousands of N95 masks, surgical masks and gloves through donations from businesses and individuals. “We are so grateful for the outpouring of support from our neighbors in the Mid-South,” said Mosley.

“Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare is doing everything in its power to apply the most up to date science to our clinical protocols and our PPE conservation practices in preparation for a patient surge. Our Supply Chain team has been working around the clock for weeks, employing ingenuity and persistence to secure the supplies and equipment we need to face the task at hand,” Michael Ugwueke, president and CEO of Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare.

How to Help –

  • While MLH greatly appreciates the outpouring of kindness, some hospitals are being surprised with donations or are receiving donations that violate COVID-19 visitation policies.
  • If you would like to inquire about donating, please complete the online form: www.methodisthealth.org/communitygiving.

A member from the MLH team will be in touch with donors as soon as possible, patience is appreciated as responses may be delayed due to a high volume in donations. “With sincere gratitude, we would like to thank all of those who have already supported our work by making a generous donation of PPE, food or funds. Please know how much we deeply appreciate your support of our mission now more than ever,” said Ugwueke.

For an extensive list of donors please visit: www.methodisthealth.org/communitygiving.

About Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare
Based in Memphis, Tennessee, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare (MLH) has been caring for patients and families regardless of ability to pay for more than 100 years. Guided by roots in the United Methodist Church and founded in 1918 to help meet the growing need for quality healthcare in the great Memphis area, MLH has grown from one hospital into a comprehensive healthcare system with 13,000 Associates supporting six hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, outpatient facilities, hospice residence and physician practices serving communities across the Mid-South. From transplants and advanced heart procedures to expert neurology services and compassionate cancer care, MLH offers clinical expertise with a focus on improving every life we touch.