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Hospitals in need of crutches, walkers, and canes amid aluminum shortages caused by supply chain disruptions

Published: Nov. 2, 2021 at 8:14 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - More fallout from the supply chain shortage. Hospitals are now having a hard time finding crutches, canes, and walkers because of an aluminum shortage.

The world-wide supply chain is putting a strain on local hospitals forcing them to come up with creative ways to get certain supplies.

Crutches, walkers, and canes are typically made out of aluminum and since many local hospitals can’t get their hands on new shipments of the walking aides, UAB is now leaning on employees for the items.

Leaders at the hospital system are asking employees to search their homes looking specifically for crutches right now in their closets, storage units, basements, and garages.

Vice President of the Supply Chain and Support Services at UAB, Laura Kowalczyk, said they hope the internal collection drive will prevent them from running out of supplies they need to help patients.

“There have been very, very few opportunities to procure crutches in our normal supply chain market. The reports we got this week from some of our resources that we gain insight and information just in the industry from is that we are still looking at early 2022 to see the aluminum raw material shortage ease up,” Kowalczyk explained.

Kowalczyk said UAB has been in contact with a couple of local suppliers recently, one of which may be able to supply the hospital with around 200 crutches.

She said the hospital system is not making a plea to the public for crutches just yet, but if you have these items at home and you’re no longer using them, you may want to reach out to a local healthcare system to see if you can donate them.

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