December 22, 2021
An aluminum shortage tied to the global supply chain crunch has led to a new medical supply shortage: crutches.
The latest example of pandemic-spurred medical supply chain problems has become a bigger problem for health systems across the nation. Crutches are walking aids used to reduce weight placed on the lower body and provide support and balance.
“Our hospital, short-term inpatient therapy, physical therapy, home health and clinic provide crutches for patients on a daily basis. All surgery volumes spike at the end of the year, including orthopedic surgeries, but if we do not have crutches to use post operatively, some patients may have to delay care,” said Heather Rambeau, Coryell Health Chief Nursing Officer. “We have run out of crutches and our suppliers don’t know when they’ll have more available to sell.” Rambeau adds the hospital’s supplier told them there is an aluminum shortage and “we just cannot get them there.”
“Just because it’s something that we’ve always had a surplus of and then it got down to having zero of certain sizes, so it really just put us in a bad situation,” she said. “The impacts of the global pandemic continue to affect so many aspects of healthcare. We’re hopeful that there are plenty of used crutches gathering dust in closets that can be put to good use for our patients.”
Any donated crutches will be sanitized and inspected for safety before being issued to patients. Individuals are asked to drop off crutches at the main entrance of the hospital anytime between 7am – 5pm, Monday thru Friday. Anyone with questions or needing assistance may call Monica Salter at (254) 248-6247.