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Martello Employee Gives Back to Local Hospital In Time of Crisis

April 8, 2020

When hospitals are reaching capacity and are uncertain about what the coming days will bring, every little bit of help will save lives.

From sewing protective garments for hospital staff, to food bank donations and using technology to create plastic protective gear, giving back to our community in a time of crisis is more important than ever.

The COVID-19 pandemic is threatening to overwhelm Canada’s existing supply of life-saving ventilators, so health officials across the country have been scrambling to supply these resources to the areas that need them the most. While ventilators are expensive, with prices averaging in the tens of thousands of dollars, they allow doctors to directly attack a patient’s breathing issues.

“They are complex computers; they have a lot of features which allow us to individualize our care for each patient that comes our way,” said Dr. Irvin Mayers, professor of medicine at the University of Alberta.

A symptom of COVID-19 is difficulty breathing and ventilators are needed to aid the recovery process for many patients. Ventilators help people breathe when their lungs cease to function properly and can save lives.

“The body’s response to the infection is with a lot of inflammation and it’s the inflammation in the air passage that seems to give all the problems, so you can support people with their breathing until this settle,” Dr. Mayers said.

A Martello employee, a former Respiratory Therapist, had one of these life-saving machines in his office at home. He used to write software for ventilators and still had one on hand that had never been used. Given the current circumstances, he felt it was best to gift it to his local hospital.

“I have many friends that are active Respiratory Therapists and are among the front-line employees battling the COVID-19 war,” Steve Bemister of Martello said. “Some contracted the virus early on and are now fighting for their own lives.  As the number of cases increases, there will be a ventilator shortage even though companies like Ford, GM and Tesla are helping with production. For smaller rural hospitals, they simply do not have emergency budgets to purchase an acute care ventilator which can cost upwards of $50,000.  Although the ventilator I donated is not an acute care model, it can still be useful in an emergency situation or for performing patient transports.”

When delivering his equipment donation, he also contributed financially to the hospital. Using Martello’s Employee-Directed Gift Program, Steve made a financial contribution to the hospital to add to their resources to help fight this virus that has had a huge impact on our communities.

“Martello is very pleased to be able to offer some assistance to a local community hospital in its fight against COVID-19,” Tracy King, VP Marketing at Martello said. “Steve’s donation of equipment will save lives and Martello’s Employee Directed Gift Program is happy to add to his contribution.”

Accepting the equipment donation was Martin Burger, left, who is the hospital’s Clinical Manager for Ambulatory Programs and Food Services and Respiratory Therapy Team Leader Sara McKean-Schulthies.

After the launch in 2016 of Martello’s Employee-Directed Gift Program, employees were empowered to make a deeper connection and financial contribution to the community organizations that matter the most to them. Through this program, Martello has been able to contribute to local sports teamsgetting kids out on bicycleshelping students travel and provide aid to those who need it, providing education support to indigenous students, supporting a hack-a-thon for health, giving support to a Cochlear Implant group, and serving underserved communities.


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