Emergency Relief Bed global roll out: 1,000 beds sent to Qatar


Delivering on our mission to make healthcare better means more today than ever before.

When Dr Homer Stryker invented the Turning Frame bed in 1938, he was innovating to meet the needs of caregivers and patients from his first-hand perspective. He often told colleagues, “If your tools don’t work, make them work. If you can’t make them work, make some that do”. Last month, we did just that. Today, just like our beginnings, it began with a bed.

As the number of coronavirus patients continued to surge in mid-March, Dean Birkmeier, Director of Advanced Operations at Stryker’s Medical division in the US, had a big idea: to mass-produce a low-cost, emergency relief bed that would urgently meet hospital needs. He challenged his colleagues to move quickly, and a team of 120 people answered the call – working around the clock to develop and launch Stryker’s Emergency Relief Bed to US hospitals in just seven days.

But this was only the beginning.

Going global

The very next day, the CE Marked Emergency Relief Bed project kicked off simultaneously in Turkey at Stryker’s Kayseri facility and in Germany at Stryker’s Tuttlingen facility. The team understood that the response to the COVID-19 crisis would be a marathon, not a sprint. Countries at various stages and waves of the virus would need to be prepared not only for what was happening now, but also for the future.

The project quickly gained traction as Global Quality and Operations (GQO), Sourcing, Stryker Medical International (SMI) Research and Development (R&D), Operations, Regulatory, Quality and the Tuttlingen Plant teams looked beyond their decentralised business units, divisions, titles and geographies to truly live the Stryker mission as one entity working towards a common goal of helping our customers on the front lines.

86 individuals spanning six countries – most of whom had never met each other – condensed an approximately two-year project timeline into 10 days – to deliver the CE Marked Emergency Relief Bed.

All hands on deck

One of the first steps in the process was securing raw materials in the middle of a global pandemic. Working across a supply chain in multiple countries, the sourcing team discovered that the two regions that make steel bolts in Europe were in Italy and Turkey. Italy was all but shut down, so the teams sourced material from several Turkish suppliers that the SMI teams had established a strong relationship with over the years.

Next, they needed to identify where to assemble the beds. A plant manager and director of operations from Stryker’s Endoscopy business unit got in touch to offer their plant in Tuttlingen, Germany.

Meanwhile, the regulatory, quality, research and development, and operations teams in Turkey, Germany and the Netherlands partnered with colleagues in Kalamazoo, Michigan, to prototype, test, iterate and ensure compliance with all CE mark requirements while expediting every step of the process.

A mere 10 days after the project began, on 10 April the CE Marked Emergency Relief Bed went live in 21 countries. The low-cost bed is now readily available to address current and future pandemic needs: from in-patient units to triage, field hospitals, ICUs, emergency departments and pop-up sites of care in some of the most vulnerable regions in Europe, Middle East, Africa and Latin America. And last week, the 1,000th CE Mark Emergency Relief Bed was sent out from our Tuttlingen, Germany facility to fulfil an order from a hospital in Qatar.

"We are living in unprecedented times. In these times, we need to focus on our fundamentals. Adaptability, team work and serving our mission. Together with our customers we are driven to make healthcare better. Hospitals around EMEA are facing capacity challenges. We had to find a way to support them and prove that our mission is more than just words. We are pleased to now offer this limited-release bed in a majority of EMEA countries to help our customers so they can stay focused on saving lives." Mathieu Badard, Vice President, Stryker’s Medical division, EMEA.

Homer Stryker’s legacy started with a bed and a commitment to innovation. Today, that legacy is exemplified by the story of teams around the globe driven to make healthcare better for our customers.

Stryker Medical
3800 E. Centre Avenue
Portage, MI 49002, USA