The organizers: Staff at Thornhill Medical
The pitch: Sending emergency medical equipment to Ukraine
Shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine last year, a consultant to Toronto-based Thornhill Medical reached out to the medical branch of the Ukrainian military to see if the company could help.
Thornhill has developed unique portable technology for use during natural disasters and in war zones. The company’s main product is a lightweight battery-operated system called MOVES that produces oxygen, acts as a ventilator and monitors a patient’s condition. Another device, called MADM, vaporizes and delivers gas anesthesia for surgical procedures. Both are extremely rugged and easy to carry.
In May, 2022, Thornhill donated four MOVES packs and two MADM kits to the Ukrainian armed forces for use on the front line and in hospitals. Thornhill also sent four staff to train around 100 civilians, military surgeons and anesthesiologists on how to use the equipment.
A few weeks ago, another 30 MOVES packs were sent to the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence in a donation organized by the Maple Hope Foundation, a British Columbia-based non-profit organization that provides first-aid supplies and financial support to people across Ukraine. The packs were given to Maple Hope by the Canadian government which acquired roughly 1,000 MOVES packs for use during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thornhill has also sent staff to train Ukrainian military doctors.
“It is very gratifying to know that our technology is so relevant,” said Lesley Gouldie, Thornhill’s chief executive officer. “I think people are just so thankful to have some solutions that they can provide care to the injured on the ground.”
Ms. Gouldie said Thornhill, which has around 70 employees, emerged out of a research project at Toronto’s University Health Network in 2004. The U.S. Marine Corps was looking for portable medical equipment that would negate the need for troops to transport bulky oxygen tanks, which can be dangerous in a war zone. Oxygen is critical for battlefield treatment because wounded soldiers and civilians are usually in shock and their oxygen levels drop. Thornhill’s products are now used around the world and played a key role in many countries throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The good thing is the technology is been used in Ukraine for the purpose that it was built,” said Ms. Gouldie. “And that’s gratifying notwithstanding that it’s just in the most horrible of circumstances.”