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Nationwide pandemic-related shortage of medical equipment impacting Bluegrass

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Posted at 6:23 PM, Nov 04, 2021

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — A nationwide pandemic-related shortage of medical equipment is impacting Kentucky.

Bluegrass Orthopaedics services thousands with locations across the Lexington area.

Andrew Carlson is Director of Business Development and buys supplies for the practice. He says it's clear there's a looming shortage.

"In orthopedic specifically, I would say we're very short on just random supplies. Depending on the month, right now, it's crutches. There's a national aluminum shortage. There's also a national rubber shortage. So being able to actually make the crutches has been challenging," said Carlson.

They currently have enough to get by but are concerned about the future.

"I'd be really rough if we didn't have crutches to provide for our clients and our patients. To be would be really hard-pressed to do a lot of things we need them to do," said Physical Therapist Assistant Justin Ingles.

Experts say it's because of a shortage of all kinds of raw materials from plastics to metals.

"We're trying the best we can. We're looking for, you know, donations for crutches if people have them," said Carlson.

He says even getting 20 would make a difference at their various locations.

"Obviously, if the crutches are donated, we are giving them to the patients free of charge. But we are looking to the community for help," said Carlson. "It's not just Bluegrass Orthopaedic struggling with this. You know, every healthcare industry is struggling with supplies right now."

Carlson says they're also seeing delays in getting rubber gloves and medicine like injectables.