Leftover US Hospital Supplies Can Have Lifesaving Impact Overseas

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Eric Wan BS and Miceile Barrett BS

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Baltimore, MD

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Answer: Access to surgery is limited in resource-poor settings and low-and-middle income countries (LMICs) due to a lack of human and material resources. In contrast, academic hospitals in high-income countries often generate significant amounts of unused and clean medical supplies that cannot be re-used in the operating rooms of high-income countries. Programs such as Supporting Hospitals Abroad with Resources and Equipment (SHARE) provide an avenue for recovery of these supplies and donation to resource-poor hospitals in LMICs. From data collected from SHARE supplies donated by Johns Hopkins, we found that the nationwide impact for these programs to be $15.4 million among US academic hospitals, which accounts for only 19 categories of commonly recovered supplies. When we tracked our donated supplies to hospitals in Ecuador serving the poor, we found that the cost-effectiveness of these donations was US $2.14 per disability-adjusted life-year prevented.

Medical Research
: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Answer: In total, we estimate that among US academic hospitals, 1.9 million pounds of all surgical supplies can be recovered and donated. This indicates that we have a significant recovery opportunity that can reduce environmental burden and benefit patient care globally. Additionally, programs such as SHARE create global and local partnerships, opening avenues for research and clinical training.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Answer: There are several questions that one could imagine from this study: What is the recovery and donation potential like in private practice? How might a national network for recovering and donating supplies look? Should we have centralization or allow individual institutions to make their own partnerships? Why do we generate so many unused supplies in US academic hospitals? How can we make reuse more cost-effective? How can we ensure successful supply chains in LMICs for maintaining steady availability of material resources?


Global Public Health Impact of Recovered Supplies from Operating Rooms: A Critical Analysis With National Implications

Eric L. Wan, BS, Li Xie ScM, Miceile D. Barrett, BS, Pablo A. Baltodano, MD, Andres F. Rivadeneira, MD, Jonathan Noboa, BS, Carol Gentry, RN, Jorge H. Palacios, MD, Gedge D. Rosson, MD, Richard J. Redett III, MD, FACS

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jamcollsurg.2014.07.130

Journal of the American College of Surgeons , Volume 219 , Issue 3 , S57


Last Updated on October 29, 2014 by Marie Benz MD FAAD