Atlanta’s Grady Hospital is one of MedShare’s 32 hospital partners in the Southeast that provide us with medical supplies. These hospital partnerships are incredibly valuable in more ways than one, as each one helps us achieve our mission of bridging the gap between surplus and need.
Grady and MedShare’s partnership was the main story in the March 2011 issue of Inside Grady, the hospital’s monthly newsletter that gets distributed to their 5000+ employees. The story is called “MedShare and Grady: Bridging the Gap,” and we wanted to share it with our supporters.
MedShare and Grady: Bridging the Gap
According to the international health coalition Healthcare Without Harm, U.S. hospitals generate more than two million tons of medical waste each year. Much of that waste is unused medical supplies and equipment. While in the developing world, the World Health Organization estimates more than 10 million children under the age of five die due to inadequate medical care.
MedShare is a nonprofit organization headquartered in Atlanta which aims to bridge this gap by collecting excess medical supplies and equipment and redistributing them to qualified healthcare facilities in the developing world.
For the past five years, Grady has been one of 32 hospitals in the Atlanta area partnered with MedShare. Numerous blue MedShare barrels are located in the OR and each week approximately 100 pounds of supplies are collected by the organization and taken to its warehouse for sorting and distribution. The donated items are primarily basic medical supplies such as gloves, sutures, gauze, gowns and tools and typically come from kits opened in the operating rooms. These kits have 20 or 30 items in them and not all of them are usually used during a surgery.
MedShare only accepts unused, unexpired medical supplies.
Grady must dispose of these items for several reasons: hospital regulations state even untouched supplies must be tossed once they’ve entered the operating room; certain supplies are deemed unacceptable if they expire within a certain amount of time; and other supplies are simply excess.
Once the donations are sorted and packaged, they are shipped overseas. Since its inception in 1998, MedShare has shipped more than 600 40-foot containers to 82 countries around the world. Each container is the size of a tractor-trailer, generally includes 1,000 boxes, weighs around 14,000 lbs., and is valued at $150,000 to $300,000.
MedShare also operates a Medical Team Store at its Atlanta facility. The store offers medical mission teams a cost effective option for items they will need on their mission trips. Atlanta is one of only two MedShare collection and distribution sites in the world and volunteers are welcome. It’s a fascinating operation and one all volunteers are introduced to before donating their time to the process.
If you’d like more information, visit www.medshare.org or call 770-323-5858.