Health Team

Duke Donating Used Equipment to Ugandan Hospital

Posted July 30, 2007

— The surplus warehouse at Duke University Medical Center was overflowing with medical equipment that the hospital no longer needed. But a surgeon has helped launched an aid program to get the equipment to hospitals that do need it.

Dr. Michael Haglund, a neurosurgeon at Duke, went on a church mission trip to Uganda, where he assisted local physicians at Mulago National Hospital in Kampala. The lack of proper equipment at the hospital made caring for patients difficult, he said.

The hospital had no oxygen or blood pressure monitors and only one anesthesia machine and ventilator.

A victim of a car wreck was kept alive by the one ventilator until the power to the hospital went out one night. When the backup generators kicked in, the machine was reset from eight to zero breaths per minute.

"His brain swelling increased dramatically, and he died," Haglund said, noting that an oxygen monitor might have alerted nurses to the problem.

So, Haglund decided that, when he returned to Durham, he would try to help the hospital with some of its needs by scrounging used equipment from Duke University Hospital.

Then he discovered the stash of equipment in the surplus warehouse.

"The stuff that's over there that's usable, nobody knew that it was there," he said. "Next thing I know, we had $1.1 million worth of equipment and, like, six tons of medical equipment we're shipping over to Uganda."

Haglund's effort prompted the medical center to establish Duke Global Health Plus to donate surplus equipment and supplies to struggling hospitals around the world.

Haglund is trying to round up $35,000 in donations to pay for shipping costs. He and a 28-member neurosurgery team plan to head to Uganda on Aug. 10 to deliver the equipment and train Mulago National Hospital staff to use it.

"We can change in one week how they practice medicine in that hospital," he said.

To donate to the effort, contact Anne Bax, associate director for finance and administration at the Duke Global Health Institute, 234 Trent Hall, Box 90519, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710 or call 919-681-7712.


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  • Retired nurse Aug 1, 2007

    We are truly blessed in the USA BUT I sure hope they didn't clean it with any of that "hydraulic fluid" that they used before, don"t you????!!!

  • 68_polara Aug 1, 2007

    Please don't even compare what our rural hospitals have to hospitals in third world nations. We are so blessed in this country.

  • Timbo Aug 1, 2007

    How about we "take care of our own others"? Instead of someone else's others. People in *our* country don't have access to such equipment and I'm guessing a significant amount of *our* insurance monies paid for it anyway.

  • blondchk4 Aug 1, 2007

    "Take care of our own"? All of us are humans on the same earth, and therefore we are all "our own". All of us know what it is to be sick and/or hurt, and scared. All of us with the ABILITY to care for others, regardless of race, religion, sex, or NATIONALITY, have the responsibility to do so.

  • Spring Aug 1, 2007

    Wonderful story! I have to respond to some of the postings.... "You are suppose to take care of your own first!".
    Well, PikeMom...that's a selfish attitude. We are supposed to take care of OTHERS - whether they are your neighbor or on the other side of the world. Instead of criticizing, maybe you should act. I'm sure your assistance in gaining funds, etc. would be most appreciated by Carteret General.
    As for DC_Merlin, unless you have worked in Medical facility, you do not understand the complications, esp with billings. When you have doctors, nurses, lab, etc all keying in items, it's not uncommon for mistakes to occur. Although quite aggravating for the patient. =)
    I'm sure Duke knew the machines were in the was probably a general statement by the doctor that 'nobody knew that it was there'. An organization the size of DUHS certainly has a fixed assets accountant, internal and external audits.

  • Timbo Aug 1, 2007

    Definitely cheaper to ship it to a rural hospital in the US.

  • 68_polara Aug 1, 2007

    What a wonderful idea! Thank you Duke University Medical Center and Dr. Michael Haglund for helping people in Uganda with such dire needs!

  • imyourhuckleberry Aug 1, 2007

    Think it's awesome he's doing this. But after reading some posts, and shame on you cryin' ;), have to say I didn't realize we had so many hospitals in our country in 'need'. Maybe WRAL needs post an article of all the hospitals in need in the US so Dr. Mike doesn't run off with the equipment!

  • Rocknhorse Jul 31, 2007

    I would rather see donations going to take care of those in need HERE first! There are a lot of people without health insurance, a lot of hospitals that could use the equipment, a lot of needs here. Let's take care of our own first!

  • Jokers Wild II Jul 31, 2007