About six months ago, B.Braun took over all Diaverum dialysis units in Australia and New Zealand.
Since then, much has changed in our Unit: admin, HR and IT systems. But the biggest change for patients has been the arrival of all new singing and dancing (maybe not dancing) dialysis machines and weighing scales. Why replace everything? So that the new equipment could form a new network, linking machines and scales to the IT System and the patient records.
Now each patient has a card they put into a slot at the scales before and after dialysis. The before weight is combined with the patient’s online dialysis prescription, to load and set up their machine. The after weight records their post-dialysis weight in their record.
But what happened to the old equipment you ask?
The machines were a mixture of new and old Gambro machines – Artis, AK200s and AK 200 Ultras. While the Artis machines were sold, the AK200s etc were stored in the basement, along with the almost new weighing scales. For months, gathering dust.
Until, at the Unit’s end of year Christmas Party, some patients asked the question: what are we doing with the old machines?
Chris, our Unit Manager, was keen to use the space, and there seemed to be no plan for their disposal. The option of landfill loomed large.
I happened to know of a Rotary program for recycling/reusing discarded medical equipment, usually for developing countries. I contacted Bob Glindemann, the Manager of Rotary’s Donations In Kind (DIK) Program. He was immediately excited about the value of the machines to many of his client hospitals.
Yesterday, it all came to pass. The Rotary Pick-up van arrived. Two strong and enthusiastic men loaded the machines and the scales and took them to the DIK warehouse in Footscray.
Like Marie Kondo, we thanked them for their service and waved goodbye with heavy hearts.
Now it’s Bob’s role to identify recipients in the Pacific, Africa and the Middle East in greatest need, who are equipped to properly use and maintain them. (Medical equipment donations are expensive for hospitals to receive; the initial equipment value is often only 20 per cent of the total lifetime cost of the equipment. The remaining costs are based on the need for consumables, spare parts and maintenance for three to five years.)
So it takes time to find the right hospitals. But certainly, within the next few months, our dialysis machines will be wending their way across the world to the right hospitals. Hospitals with medical staff who can use them to help reduce the needless suffering and deaths of the thousands of people with End Stage Renal Failure who currently have no access to care.
Now That’s a Win!