No question about what Santa's doing these days: making a list and checking it twice. Presumably, by the evening of the 24th, the old boy will have sorted out who's been naughty and nice. Then he'll call Federal Express and have them absolutely, positively deliver each child's gift overnight.
But at Children's Hospital, the logisticians don't aim at just one night a year, like Mr. Claus. Theirs is a 365-day-a-year act--and the totals they run up, and run through, would stagger the average imagination, not to mention the average budget. Researcher Linda Josephson put together this summary of who uses how much of what at the Hospital on the Hill.
Imagine a list 1,550 items long and you'll come close to the one that Joan Zeigler deals with on a daily basis in her role as director of purchasing at Children's.
That's the number of things that make up the inventory of items always in stock at the hospital. The list includes everything from Pampers to eye patches, from Tylenol to toilet paper.
Although they participate in a group purchasing plan with other area hospitals, the amounts that Children's spends on these essentially nonmedical items are eye-openers. If you're wondering what happens to the dollars you donate, consider a few of these figures. Each month, Children's spends:
* $63 for baby lotion.
* $74 for eye patches.
* $81 for arm slings.
* $147 for Tylenol drops and syrup.
* $156 for ointment.
* $290 for Q-Tips.
* $314 for Band-Aids.
* $662 for Vaseline.
* $852 for shirts for newborns.
* $926 for toilet paper.
* $1,285 for baby blankets.
* $1,932 for tissues.
* $4,257 for disposable diapers.
And that's only the half of it. In addition to care, there's the feeding of the flock.
Each month, director of dietetics John Malloy buys about 13,125 slices of bread, 10,915 pints of milk, 1,630 dozen eggs and 17 pounds of dried baby cereal.
But even Malloy concedes that these are, at best, guesstimates. "We buy more and use more than the figures I'm giving you," he said.
No small operation, that Children's Hospital.