Katrina relief: Medtech heeds the call. Photo courtesy American Red Cross.
In the days and weeks following Hurricane Katrina's rampage across the Gulf Coast, the medtech industry mobilized to supply the affected regions with much-needed supplies, ranging from bedpans and bandages to home dialysis equipment and automated external defibrillators.
But despite widespread efforts and sizable donations on the part of many manufacturers, no single coordinating force emerged to link available medical supplies and services to areas of specific need. Medtech manufacturers eager to help pursued a variety of means, including coordinating with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and other government agencies, working through industry associations to identify areas of need and courses of action, contacting affected patients directly, and contributing donations and information through a variety of nonprofit entities.
Following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, HHS tapped industry association AdvaMed (Washington, DC) as its official liaison to the medical technology industry in the event of a natural disaster or terrorist incident. In Katrina's wake, the department provided AdvaMed with a list of medical supplies needed to furnish facilities accommodating 10,000 emergency hospital beds.