By Estelle R. Brown
CHARDON – We are not to throw away those things which can benefit our neighbor. Goods are called good because they can be used for good: they are instruments for good in the hands of those who use them properly.
These timeless words were spoken by Clement of Alexandria, an early philosopher around 190 A.D. The philosopher’s wisdom still rings true today, as illustrated in this story. On the surface, this article celebrates the fact that UH Geauga Medical Center recently donated three modern hospital beds to Kent State University at Geauga’s nursing lab. As teaching tools, they will help nursing students to gain practical experience using the types of beds they will find while treating patients in a contemporary hospital setting.
But this is also a story about how the Kent State Geauga nursing lab donated its older-model hospital beds to MedWish International, a not-for-profit organization that saves lives and the environment by repurposing discarded medical supplies and equipment to provide humanitarian aid to people in need.
As you will see, it required the right people in the right places with a shared ethic to bring about the best good from these goods.
Donald DeCarlo, MD, MBA, President of UH Geauga Medical Center, comments, “UH Geauga Medical Center’s primary focus is caring for our patients, but we also enjoy working with our surrounding medical training facilities so they can continue to provide the best care for our community. When we heard that Kent State Geauga was in need of additional beds in their BSN skills lab, we knew this donation would benefit education for our future nurses. We hope many of them will become a part of our UH Geauga team in the future.”
Jeff Myers is the Staff Development Coordinator at UH Geauga. Since his wife Kerry is Associate Lecturer of Nursing at Kent State Geauga, he knew that the nursing department at Kent State Geauga needed updated technology for the lab. Consequently, he reached out to UH Geauga colleagues when he learned the ICU was replacing beds.
“Not only were they receptive to our needs, but enthusiastically reached out to our campus within hours of learning of the need and facilitated the move!” Kerry explains.
According to Melissa Owen, MSN, RN, the BSN Nursing Coordinator nursing lecturer at Kent State Geauga, “The credit goes to Jeff and Kerry Myers. I believe with his ‘in’ at UH Geauga, Jeff was keeping an ear and eye out, so to speak, and caught wind of the replacements. Bottom line, he advocated for our needs at the campus and we are grateful! I was then contacted by Julie Novak [UH Geauga Director, Operations & Safety Officer] about our need and gladly accepted the offer for updated equipment!”
Jim Taylor, Senior Facility Manager at Kent State Geauga, helped to coordinate with MedWish International the donation of the nursing lab’s three hospital beds to those in need.
“The three beds are being repurposed to make room for newer beds that are being provided by a generous donation by University Hospital to the nursing program at the Geauga Campus in Burton,” he says.
By partnering with local agencies, MedWish helps individuals find assistance in getting the medical equipment they need to improve a loved one’s quality of life. This program serves vulnerable populations in the Cleveland area and around the United States.
Angela Spalsbury, Dean and Chief Administrative Officer of Kent State University at Geauga adds, “We are so grateful for our enduring partnership with UH Geauga Medical Center, and we look forward to what the future holds for our students as they prepare for careers that support the health of individuals throughout our community and beyond our borders.”
As this story illustrates, goods can only be used for good when people take the time and care to turn a potential throw-away into an instrument for good. Clement of Alexandria said it best: Things which can benefit our neighbor are instruments for good in the hands of those who use them properly.