LEXINGTON, Ky. — The COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the supply chain has led to a shortage of vital equipment for Shriners Children’s Hospital in Lexington to care for their patients.

What You Need To Know

  • A global shortage of aluminum has Shriners Children’s Hospital in Lexington dealing with a shortage of crutches

  • The hospital reached out to the public for help to collect crutches 

  • With more than 900 shares on social media in just a few days, they collected 50 sets of crutches

  • Suppliers have informed the hospital that they are unsure when they’ll have more crutches to sell

At the onset of the pandemic, hospitals statewide dealt with a shortage of personal protective equipment. While that’s no longer a problem, Jessica Kazee, a physical therapist at Shriners Children’s Hospital said their vendors are unable to fill orders for a much needed orthopedic device.

"When we heard we were needing crutches and we tried to order them, our supplier said there’s an aluminum shortage and we just can not get them there," Kazee explained.

Amid a global shortage of aluminum, physical therapists at the facility said crutches are now in short supply.

"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," Kazee said.

It's hard to imagine trying to get around after fracturing a bone without the aid of the devices. Kazee said not only is this medical equipment crucial for the mobility of a patient, it’s also an essential step in the recovery process.

"It’s so important to have crutches to offer to these kiddos and safely use so they can stay mobile, keep their strength up so they can continue to progress, continue to gain their strength, and continue to get healthy again," said Kazee.

Regardless, the unexpected shortages are forcing hospital staff to get creative.

Just days ago, a physical therapist team put out an alert to the community, asking for donations of gently used crutches.

"We knew that something needed to be done," Kazee said. "So, that’s when we reached out to our community and spread the word that we really needed help in this area."

We are in need of aluminum crutches! Because of nationwide supply chain issues, we are out and unable to get more in for...

Posted by Shriners Hospitals for Children Medical Center - Lexington on Wednesday, October 20, 2021

With more than 900 shares on social media in just a few days, Shriners Children’s Hospital collected 50 sets of crutches.

"It really has given us hope and our patients hope as well to see the outpouring of support from our community to help our children's hospital," Kazee added.

Any equipment that is returned or donated to the hospital is sanitized and inspected so it can be used again by future patients.

At this point, suppliers have informed them that they are unsure when they’ll have more crutches to sell.

"Eventually we’ll run out again, but just trying to keep a good tab on what we have and what were going to need," Kazee said.

The hospital system is continuing to ask anyone with crutches at home to consider donating them to patients as they look to collect 100 pairs of crutches.

To make a donation, call Jackie at 859-268-5770. To make a monetary donation to Shriners Children’s Hospital in Lexington, visit their website.