MINNEAPOLIS — "We were very, very close to a dire situation."
The somber scenario is how John Hendricks, a biomedical and logistics manager at Children's Minnesota, described the PPE shortage due to COVID-19.
The hospital staff had to come up with out of the box solutions to protect patients and staff.
"In a lot of ways, we're being forced to be creative," said Hendricks.
That's when he came up with an idea for Children's Minnesota to create their own face shields.
Hendricks and couriers from Children's hit the big box stores across the metro collecting supplies, including foam used around air conditioners.
Then he looked internally. "We have our own print shop in the hospital so we went down there and they have these huge rolls of laminate that they use for posters and stuff," Hendricks said.
Piece by piece, the shields started to come together.
"We needed to identify a strap material and somebody and I don't remember who, but somebody had said lets use a tourniquet," Hendricks recalled.
Word spread; Doctors and nurses started to assemble shields, wanting to pitch in.
"They were really excited about it. They were happy to help because they feel like they're giving back to our community. Community in a sense – our Children's Staff," said Tenzin Namkha, the project manager.
The staff hit their goal of 5,000 face shields within 7 days.
Namkha said the team at Children's Minnesota would be willing to help any organization set up the process to make face shields.
The shields are reusable, easy to disinfect and the rubber straps make it possible to have different sizes.
Communities that KARE is sponsored by Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union.
RELATED: Communities that KARE: Hope Flanagan