In the second week following the Jan. 12 earthquake that devastated Haiti, corporations stepped into the breach, pledging millions in cash, goods and services even as death toll estimates mounted into six-figure territory.
Haitian officials said they believe the final count could reach 200,000; United Nations officials said the final number may never be known. Seventy thousand bodies have already been interred in mass graves.
But logistical logjams continue to bedevil the relief effort, as aid agencies struggle to provide badly needed food, water and medical supplies to hundreds of thousands of victims and medical services raced to fight infection and sepsis.
The corporate world began pledging to help the relief effort soon after the magnitude 7.0 temblor struck. Becton, Dickinson & Co. (NYSE:BDX),
Abbott (NYSE:ABT) and Kinetic Concepts Inc. (NYSE:KCI) together pledged a total of more than $6 million in cash and medical supplies. A team of 12 doctors from Caritas Christi and about $1 million worth of medical equipment and supplies donated by Philips Healthcare was slated to leave from Hanscom Air Force Base in Bedford, Mass., Jan. 20, headed for Sacre Coeur Hospital in Milot near the northern coast of Haiti. Skillman, N.J.-based ConvaTec pledged to send $400,000 worth of advanced wound dressings and skin care products from its plant in the neighboring Dominican Republic. Epocrates is offering its flagship software for free to any clinician working in Haiti, according to MedGadget.com. The company is donating premium subscriptions including drug, disease and diagnostic tools to doctors headed to Haiti. And Smith & Nephew (NYSE:SNN) pledged more than $2 million in orthopedic implants and surgical instruments, set to arrive within days.
Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) sent four “disaster relief modules” loaded with wound care, infection prevention, analgesic and orthopedic products and promised to match any contributions from its U.S. employees; Roche’s U.S. division also agreed to match employees’ contributions and pledged to send medicines and diagnostic products once it’s figured out the most effective means of getting them to the beleaguered island nation. 3M Corp. (NYSE:MMM) committed about $1 million worth of products including bandages, wound dressings, sterile drapes, splints and medical tape and the GE Foundation announced a $2.5 million financial commitment. Henry Schein Inc. (NSDQ:HSIC) donated $1 million in medical supplies.
Baxter International Inc. (NYSE:BAX) committed $1 million — including $350,000 in grants — and pledged to match employees’ donations. Medtronic Inc. (NYSE:MDT) pledged $1 million from its own coffers and said that amount could rise to $1.25 million including product and employee donations. Medtronic said it will bestow $750,000 in grants to help rebuild Haiti’s healthcare infrastructure. Sanomedics International Holdings (OTC:SIMH) said it will send $35,000 worth of the its non-contact infrared thermometers to help medical personnel identify potential disease outbreaks. AcuTemp Thermal Systems and CSafe LLC together offered their temperature controlled containers to relief agencies for shipping and storing blood, vaccines and other temperature-sensitive medical supplies. And Houston’s Amputee & Prosthetic Center and the charity Limbs of Love are sending prosthetic components, supplies and volunteer prosthetic professionals to fit limbs on Haitian amputees.
DJO Inc. sent $200,000 worth of orthopedic medical products and another ortho company, Hanger Orthopedic Group Inc. (NYSE:HGR), donated $250,000 in cash and devices. CareFusion (NYSE:CFN) pledged $3.1 million worth of its ventilators, infusion pumps and enough silver dihydrogen citrate to purify up to 20 million gallons of water.
MassDevice urges readers to join us in contributing to the relief efforts underway in Haiti. To make a donation to our friends at Partners in Health, please click here.