Bay Area medical center puts more than half a million PPE and hospital gowns outside, may be ruined

In another PPE mishap in the Bay Area, more than half a million hospital gowns worth at least $2.5M have been left outside

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Friday, January 21, 2022
Half a million hospital gowns left outside in another PPE mishap
In another PPE mishap in the Bay Area, more than half a million hospital gowns have been left outside a Bay Area hospital.

DALY CITY, Calif. (KGO) -- Another day, another massive collection of PPE just sitting outside, exposed to the elements. This time, more than half a million hospital gowns sit in the Seton Medical Center parking lot.

Because of that, experts tell us in an exclusive report that the gowns should not be used in the hospital.

A woman identifying herself as a nurse at Seton Medical Center in Daly City called the I-Team to say she saw last week's I-Team report about all that PPE being damaged in the rain at the San Mateo Event Center, and that her hospital also dumped many boxes of PPE outside two months ago.

After a trip to the beach this past Sunday, the I-Team's Dan Noyes stopped by and found this - row upon row of hospital gowns: "These are sent from Australia it looks like. Made in China."

He started counting: "Thirty pallets long times 1, 2, 3."

RELATED: More than $10M worth of masks, protective gear left in the rain outside Bay Area event center

Thousands of boxes filled with masks and protective gear worth more than $10 million were left in the rain outside a Bay Area event center.

About 90 pallets in this row, another 60 more just down the hill. Conservatively, more than half a million hospital gowns sitting outside in the elements worth at least $2.5 million, according to our qualified sources.

Noyes asked, "There are so many questions about this. Number one, who paid for this? Is this tax dollars? Is this money that the hospital's going to pass on, the expense to patients? Do they plan on using these things? Is it sanitary with the rain and the bugs and the rodents having access to it?"

We spoke with the chairman of Seton Medical, Ken Sim, on his cell phone. Then, by text, he said he "referred this matter to the A-team."

Seton Medical spokesperson Tina Ahn called, agreed to an on-camera interview, then backed out and refused to answer our questions. She texted, "The boxes of gowns are there temporarily while we secure new storage space. While the boxes are weathered, the contents are not damaged."

RELATED: 'Has to be investigated': Marines tagged to inspect $10M of COVID protective gear left in the rain

After nearly $10 million of PPE was rained on outside the San Mateo County Event Center, the Marines have been called in to do an inspection.

Industry experts tell us hospital gowns are supposed to be stored in cool, dry, climate and access controlled areas. And because the packaging is stained, wet or otherwise damaged, the gowns should not be used in the hospital.

San Mateo County Supervisor David Canepa told the I-Team, "This is embarrassing. This is something that I'm particularly not proud of being on the board of supervisors. But you've exposed the sort of transparency and the accountability when something like this happens, you have to own up to it."

Both County Manager Mike Callagy and County Spokesperson Michelle Durand told us they are unavailable for an interview today, but did confirm the county provided Seton with PPE, though they couldn't trace purchase order numbers from the boxes that I provided.

DAVID CANEPA, SAN MATEO COUNTY SUPERVISOR: "The big issue is, what do you do with all that? PPE? And that's going to be something that's going to be a challenge."

DAN NOYES: "Well, a start is to keep it inside."

DAVID CANEPA: "Yeah, yeah. Can I tell you? Yes? And your, your? To answer that, that's a pretty simple answer. And, and, and that makes a lot of sense."

RELATED: Why are boxes of plastic face shields being shredded in San Benito County? I-Team seeks answers

In San Benito County thousands of boxes of PPE are not only sitting outside in unwieldly stacks, but heading to the recycling center to be shredded.

The county manager confirms the I-Team report last week that many truck-loads of PPE - including gowns and non-medical grade face shields -- went to the dump, before we discovered that mess in the rain at the event center. Mike Callagy also says, "We recycled many dumpers of bedding ... though still unopened, it was in place for mass evacuations, but the bedding had expired."

Homeless advocates in the county tell us they could have used that bedding. Expired or not, it's better than sleeping on the cold, hard ground.