MDN: International Medical Corps’ Portable Hospital Finds Home At FedEx
Valued at more than $2 million, International Medical Corps’ massive field hospital has yet to save even a single life since it was constructed five years ago.
That could soon change, however, with the addition of FedEx.
On Thursday, June 1, officials with IMC and FedEx completed moving the hospital from Boise, Idaho, to a large warehouse in southeast Memphis, where it will sit in 130 crates until needed.
“It’s a trauma hospital that is designed to be on the ground and operating (in a disaster zone) in 72 hours,” IMC representative Erica Tavares said. “It’s never been deployed.”
This all began in the wake of the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti, which left tens of thousands of people dead and scores more homeless.
After that, the IMC, a global nonprofit humanitarian organization founded in 1984, saw the need for a mobile hospital that could be set up quickly amid such devastation.
So, in 2012, IMC officials constructed a portable hospital roughly the size of a football field. The 60-bed mobile trauma and surgical facility can provide 300 surgeries and 6,000 outpatient consultations a month. It is designed to be self-sufficient for at least four weeks. It is primarily designed for international use in natural disasters.
But with its size and scope, the facility has certain requirements in terms of space and logistics. And although IMC officials tried to deploy the hospital after the 2015 Nepal earthquake, they were unable to set it up in the affected area.
So there it sat, collecting dust, in part because the storage and packing in Boise meant the facility had to be deployed entirely or not at all.
But about six months ago, FedEx became involved with the efforts to put the hospital to use, said David Lusk, senior manager of global operations control at FedEx Express.
“When you look at what the IMC does, the impact it has on communities in a disaster (when) people need immediate trauma care, the capabilities that IMC has matched up with our ability to rapidly get that where it’s needed most,” Lusk said, adding that FedEx is donating the storage space and any necessary transportation to deploy the facility. “It’s the perfect fit.”
Now, the entire hospital is being stored and packed in such a way that it can be split into smaller components, something that didn’t really work in the Boise facility.
This means that the hospital can be used in its entirety for a major disaster, but it can also be broken down into modular sections for a response to smaller disasters, such as disease outbreaks and the like.
“We know that the assets in the hospital can be used for smaller disasters and disease outbreaks,” Tavares said. “Now the way it’s stored, they can take just pieces of it.”
For example, previously, all the tents were stored in one crate while the lights were in a separate crate and the generators in yet another one.
Now, though, some of those components are stored together, making it easier to get just a portion of the hospital to a disaster zone.
“Now there’s a set of crates that are designed for smaller disasters, so now maybe we could take (just) a third of the crates,” Tavares said.
FedEx also will make it easier to move the hospital, or just a portion of it, where it’s needed, Lusk said. The goal there is to use the company’s massive resources to get the hospital where it needs to be as fast as possible.
“Not only can we move the whole hospital in a charter,” Lusk said, “but if they only need to move a few crates, we can offer them that.”