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Release: Jan. 14, 2003

UI Hospitals and Clinics, Parkersburg Rotary Club to donate equipment

University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics Department of Anesthesia and the Rotary Club of Parkersburg are working together to donate outdated anesthesia equipment to rural hospitals in two developing nations.

The first shipment of five anesthesia machines will be sent to Honduras Jan. 24. The equipment will be loaded onto a ship in Biloxi, Miss., for the voyage to the northern coast of the Central American nation. Their final destination is a hospital established by missionaries in the jungle.

The second shipment of anesthesia machines is scheduled for shipment to hospitals in the Andhra-Pradesh region of India later this year.

"This anesthesia equipment has reached the end of its useful life and can no longer be used in the U.S. or other nations with advanced health care systems," explained Joseph Lucero, M.D., an assistant professor in the UI Department of Anesthesia. "However, there is a real need for this technology in developing nations, and we are pleased that these medical devices will continue to help meet the needs of seriously ill patients."

Parkersburg Rotary Club members are raising funds to pay the costs of shipping and maintenance of the anesthesia equipment in Honduras and India. Plans are underway for a special community event later this spring.

"When our members learned of the tremendous need for this life-saving technology in these areas of the world, all of us of became deeply committed to doing what we could to help," said Kevin Truax, a member of the Parkersburg Rotary Club. "It is really heart-warming to see the dedication of so many people to this cause."

The anesthesia equipment is used in surgical cases that require patients to receive general anesthesia. The equipment cost $47,000 per machine when it was purchased 15 years ago. Now that the technology has reached the end of its expected life, the machines have no market value and are no longer approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration. If the equipment were not donated to health care centers in developing nations, the only alternative would be to dispose of the equipment.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at www.uihealthcare.com.