Hospital Sisters Health System (HSHS) has donated 129 hospital beds to Hospital Sisters Mission Outreach as they standardize their beds across the health system. By the time the first project phase is finished, 190 beds taken out of service will be donated from five hospitals in Illinois and Wisconsin, including HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital in Green Bay; HSHS St. John’s Hospital in Springfield; HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital in Breese; HSHS Holy Family Hospital in Greenville; and HSHS St. Francis Hospital in Litchfield.
This is an unprecedented influx of a highly needed item for Mission Outreach’s international partners. Erica Smith, Executive Director of Mission Outreach, says hospital beds are the number one requested item, and they are already being shipped out to hospitals in other countries such as Tanzania, Nigeria and Lebanon, with more to go.
“I recently was in Uganda, and I saw a hospital where the pediatric ward the children were on the floor recovering from surgery because there are no beds there,” says Smith.
Usually when beds are requested, Mission Outreach sends one or two in the recipient’s 40-foot container packed carefully with other medical supplies and equipment requested by the recipient. Ratish Kumar, Biomedical Engineer with Mission Outreach says, “We never had a situation like this before where we can meet our recipient’s need for an entire year.”
Kumar points out that Mission Outreach is the only Medical Supply Recovery Organization in the nation that is affiliated with a health system. Kumar says, “That gives us an enormous opportunity to work in partnership with the 15 (HSHS) hospitals and see how we can streamline the donations and better serve our recipients overseas.” This large donation of beds is an example of streamlined donations processing efficiently so they can start being used by international partners as soon as possible.
“It's been a huge success,” says Smith. “We had one example of beds that we got in Green Bay that were on a container to Tanzania within two weeks. So it's amazing, it is a blessing for us, and it's also a blessing for many people around the world who otherwise may not have something as simple as a hospital bed to receive care or recover in.”
HSHS is pleased to see the donations ship out as well. “It’s an honor to share these beds with Mission Outreach and watch our mission extend through their ministry. A nurse once stood beside a bed in Green Bay caring for a patient, and now that bed is in Tanzania, where another nurse stands nearby, with the same passion to bring healing to their patients. It’s powerful to have that connection across the globe, to know that we share resources and our mission,” says Damond Boatwright, President and CEO of HSHS.
“The bed project is the ideal collaboration,” says Smith. “It may seem like a lot of work and sometimes we may even wonder how much does this cost or what's the return on investment? For me, the return on investment is that when I go to Uganda next time, I don't see a kid recovering from surgery on the floor. And to that kid and to his or her parents this is why we do this work, and this is the mission of our Sisters and our health system.”
Watch this video to learn more about the bed donation.