Friday, November 30, 2018

Where are the Bandaids?

“…needed more bandaids,  …..the supplies seemed to be short on bandaids, …..we couldn’t find the bandaids.” These were some of the feedback comments we received as we closed out our 2018 Marine Corps Marathon this year. As the medical coordinator, the comments initially made me a bit annoyed, but then I sat back and thought there are some more fundamental issues here in the planning and executing of large venue events.

Our warehouse of medical supplies and equipment holds several thousand dollars’ worth of various consumable supplies. We have bandaids, we have roller bandage gauze, we have 4 x 4 sterile and non-sterile gauze. We also have Tegaderm™, Opsite™, New Skin™, Coban™, sticky back felt, moleskin, Durabond™ and many other wound care dressings. There are so many more dressings and bandages available on the market.

Care in the field is very different than care in the clinic. That includes your supplies. Most of our events rely heavily on our volunteers. They are the key to our success in our medical tents. They come with a lot of enthusiasm and giving hands and many of them come with little understanding of supplies that are most useful in the sporting environment.

Adhesive bandages with gauze pad center (the generic definition of bandaids or Band-Aids™) work in many environments but not once an athlete is sweating. They just don’t stick, they don’t work over a joint or in a shoe. Sometimes you can use benzoin of tincture, betadine or other glues to make it stick better but there are better supplies that work in the athletic environment.

Our role in educating our volunteers and staff includes protocols and algorithms but I think it also means giving them a bit more lay of land in the logistics area. We stock eight types of tape—some for the musculoskeletal practitioners, some for the IV’s and the duct tape—in case everything else fails. Some might say that is way too many. For our events these are the ones we use and our AT’s and PT’s like and have asked for over time. We train our supply petty officers and they pack their gear but on race day they cannot be everyone where in the tent.

So maybe for next year I’ll create a go-by with a catalogue of our supplies and how they can be used.