Medshare sends medical relief shipment to Haiti

January 15, 2010 2:08:40 PM PST
A non-profit in the East Bay is preparing to send a shipment of triage supplies to help earthquake victims in Haiti. Volunteers are selecting the medical items from an urgent request list from doctors on the ground in Haiti.

They are putting the items on pallets and wrapping them up for a cross-country drive to Miami on Friday evening. It is the first of six tractor trailer loads of medical supplies Medshare hopes to get to Haitian survivors.

Lorenzo Benedicty is no expert at loading pallets. He actually works for a healthcare financial group. He volunteered for this work because like so many people in the Bay Area, he felt he had to do something to help Haiti.

"What we're doing here has a real physical value," he said. "They're going to be able to put up these boxes in Haiti and use the supplies, and that's a good thing."

First on the emergency list for shipping are triage supplies, gauze, bandages, and first aid for the first few days following the earthquake. Later shipments will be for longer term care. It is all the work of Medshare, a non-profit that distributes surplus medical supplies to developing countries.

Western region executive director Chuck Haupt says the hospitals and medical supply companies in the Bay Area are coming through in a big way.

"From Santa Cruz hospitals, Dominican down there, Sequoia Hospital, Valley Care in Pleasanton, Kaiser in Oakland, all have donates supplies going in this particular shipment," he said. "The response has been nothing short of fantastic."

All of this will be trucked to Miami for later shipment to a hospital in the Dominican Republic, just across the border from Haiti, where Medshare's CEO and a medical team will set up shop in a terribly desperate situation.

"The flash report that I received this morning said there are over 1,800 patients that have fled across the border to this particular hospital," said Haupt.

Also this morning, Sutter Health is announcing the single largest cash donation to the earthquake relief effort -- $1.25 million; a quarter million for Medshare, the rest for those on the ground.

"One million dollars that will be donated to Doctors Without Borders -- Medecins Sans Frontieres (in French), which as you know is an international organization that's on the ground with knowledge [and] expertise, providing care in Haiti," said Dr. Stephen Lockhart, vice president of Sutter Health East Bay.

If you are interested in helping out Medshare, visit