Anesthesia Hygiene, a small manufacturer, has partnered with Get Us PPE to donate gowns and coveralls to healthcare workers and facilities located in underserved communities, such as homeless shelters, dental offices, and elderly care facilities.
When MurliKrishna Kannan, founder of Anesthesia Hygiene, observed an increase in personal protective equipment (PPE) in the United States that did not meet medical standards, he decided to do something about it.
As Kannan and his fellow anesthesiologists had already been specification developers of anesthesia machine covers since 2014, it made sense to them to begin producing and supplying gowns and coveralls to healthcare personnel in early February of 2020. Then, as the demands of hospitals and distributors started to increase, Anesthesia Hygiene started to ramp up manufacturing to keep up with the growing demand for PPE.
Anesthesia Hygiene Begins to Donate Gowns and Coveralls
Soon after, Kannan realized hospitals in underserved areas had more COVID-19 cases, but due to underfunding, they could not purchase the adequate PPE they needed. After connecting with Get Us PPE on Twitter, Kannan decided to work with Get Us PPE and other organizations to distribute their donations to clinics around the Los Angeles and San Diego area. “Places that are not used to using PPE suddenly needed PPE. We decided to do our part and help,” Kannan told Get Us PPE, adding that “Places we have called are grateful to receive any help. It’s been eye-opening to see [donation recipients] in person.”
As cases in Los Angeles began to surge in late 2020, Kannan needed extra help carrying out donation requests from Get Us PPE. After he witnessed PPE shortages and learned about Anesthesia Hygiene’s donation to a local organization, Hrishikesh Krishna, a high school student, volunteered to help. He joined the team in January of 2021 as an intern after only one day of onboarding. Every day, Krishna takes about three hours out of his busy high school schedule to complete the donation process, which consists of calling the receiving facility, picking up supplies from the warehouse, and delivering the donations.
Homeless Shelters Overlooked for Government Assistance
Already tired and with overworked staff, many homeless shelters and low-cost clinics are being overlooked for governmental PPE assistance. In a conversation with a representative from one of these shelters, Krishna was told these facilities rely on organizations like Get Us PPE to be connected with deliveries from people like Krishna to get by. “While it’s difficult to capture moments on camera, you can sense the gratitude when you are there,” Kannan said.
As of February 2021, Anesthesia Hygiene has donated about 2,000, or two percent of their products, to local homeless shelters, elderly care facilities, medical clinics, and hospitals. They show no signs of slowing down, and they pledge to donate another 10,000 as the new coronavirus variant worsens situations for those in underserved communities.
Although Kannan mostly donates their gowns to everyone that requests donations through Get Us PPE, he and his team sometimes look to the news to observe which areas are in greatest need of their coveralls. For example, in one of their most publicized donations, after hearing that Texas ICU nurses were battling the brutal summer heat in unbreathable coveralls, they decided to help out with a donation of their high quality, breathable coveralls.
As a physician, Kannan said he understands how it feels to have a limited supply of PPE while caring for patients. “It’s a profoundly vulnerable feeling. You want to help, but the fear is palpable,” Kannan said.