More hospitals report crutch shortages

More hospitals are asking their communities to donate gently used crutches as a global aluminum shortage has stretched their supplies thin. 

Shriners Children's in Lexington, Ky., told Spectrum News 1 Nov. 1 that they're running out of crutches and their suppliers don't know when they'll have more available to sell. Jessica Kazee, a physical therapist at the hospital, told Spectrum News 1 that the hospital's supplier told them there's 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 hospital's physical therapist team put out a request for their community to donate gently used crutches, and was able to collect 50 sets in just a few days, according to Spectrum News 1. The hospital continues to ask the public for donations. 

Officials at Beaufort Memorial Hospital in South Carolina said Oct. 25 the shortage has affected them too. 

"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," Russell Baxley, the hospital's president and CEO, said in a news release

Both Beaufort Memorial and Shriners Children's said any donated crutches will be sanitized and inspected for safety before being issued to patients. 

Last week, health officials in Utah began urging the public to donate crutches along with wheelchairs, walkers and canes amid the aluminum shortage. Intermountain Healthcare and University of Utah Health, both based in Salt Lake City, along with Dallas-based Steward Health and the Utah Hospital Association, launched a donation drive called LeanOnUtah to collect mobility-assist equipment from the community. 

Hospitals in West Virginia and Georgia have also reported crutch shortages. 

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