Richland nonprofit building, sending medical supplies to Ukraine

RICHLAND, Wash. — Among the hum of machines, workers craft and inspect long, steel nails that can heal severe bone fractures, inside a facility in Richland.

“We’re a tiny company that’s doing huge, huge wonderful things around the world,” Jeanne Dillner said.

Dillner, the CEO of SIGN Fracture Care International Manufactures the long screw in Richland.

She said they provide that and other medical supplies to low income or impoverished regions around the world.

When conflicts in Ukraine broke out, she said they reached out to doctors to see if they needed help.

“We showed them our own products that we make as well as the ex-fixes and they confirmed that they really do need it,” Dillner said.

SIGN Fracture Care International was founded in 1999 by Dr. Lewis Zirkle, an Orthopedist from Richland.

RELATED: Russia-Ukraine war, key things to know about the conflict

The nonprofit often provides supplies to war-torn countries were surgeons are frequently working on blast wounds and without the luxuries of a modern-day operating room.

“We’ve been able to learn from those surgeons what they need to be able to care for their patients, so we knew right away that the surgeons were going to need what’s called an ex-fix,” Jeanne explained.

The nonprofit put out the call for ex-fixes to go along with the SIGN nail to send over to Ukraine.

“We just need more, send more!” she laughed, “the nail goes into the canal of your bone and then it’s held in place by these screws,” she explained.

If the bone has broken through the surface, or the wound is severe, Jeanne said that’s when ex-fixes come in handy.

“You would put this on first, allow the wounds to close, then they would do the definitive surgery of putting in a SIGN nail to secure the stability of the leg,” Jeanne said.

The SIGN nail can be used on major, long bones like the humerus, tibia and femur.

Jeanne said times like this are why they’re so passionate about getting medical care overseas. She said they’ll continue to send supplies as they hear back from Ukrainian doctors.

“It gives us a burst of encouragement,” she said.

If you’d like to donate to their cause, or learn more, head over to their website.