Companies and communities donate to ensure delivery of advanced medical care.
Companies serving the health care industry often include a focus onpositive patient impact. Even manufacturers of medical equipment, like CT machines, ultimately wish to improve patient care. But some companies take that mission a step further, entering into charitable arrangements intended to achieve their patient-care missions with no thought of profit.
The most recent example is the donation of a refurbished Aquilion 4 CT system to Tenwek Hospital in Bomet, Kenya, by Toshiba America Medical Systems, Inc., located in Tustin, Calif. Tenwek is a training hospital serving an area inhabited by roughly 2.5 million people. The system will represent the area’s first CT. Patients previously had to travel four hours for access to the advanced modality.
Tenwek’s physicians intend to use the machine to perform neurosurgical, thoracic, and orthopedic studies, as well as provide training to future neurosurgeons. A five-year training program is in place with the goal to educate students who will then remain in the area, expanding regional access to medical care.
"This community-based program was developed in an effort to train more neurosurgeons and thus provide Africans with access to medical professionals that Americans take for granted," said Bob Pagett, president of Assist International, headquartered in Scotts Valley, Calif, in a release.
Toshiba worked with Assist International to donate the system. Assist International is an organization that works with corporate partners to address the medical needs of emerging countries. In addition to the Aquilion CT system, Toshiba also contributed a spare X-ray tube to the hospital’s inventory, helping to ensure continued delivery of CT service to the population.
Toshiba was happy to participate. "Everyone from the Toshiba management team was immediately onboard when we were approached with the opportunity to help this hospital. We look forward to partnering with Assist International again in the future on other life-changing medical projects," said Tim Mahanna, director of Service Technical Operations for Toshiba, in a release.
Although CT machines are rather expensive (newer models cancost upwards of $4 million)—or maybe because they are so expensive—there are otherexamples of the machines as charitable gifts both by companies and individual giving.
MedShare, based in Decatur, Ga, is a non-profit organization that recovers and redistributes surplus medical supplies and equipment to the underserved health care facilities of developing countries. In 2009, the organization was able to ship a mobile CT scanner to Zimbabwe that had been donated by Catalina Imaging, a diagnostic imaging company located outside Sacramento. At the time, it represented the most substantial single medical equipment donation ever received by MedShare.
Earlier this year, an anonymous $3.1 million cash donation to Scarborough Hospital in Ontario, Canada, will result in two new CT scanners, one for two of the health care institution’s campuses.
In Sheffield, located in South Yorkshire, England, the BBC Radio Sheffield Kids’ Scanner Appeal held earlier this year raised more than its goal of 500,000GRB (approximately $784,000) intended to help purchase a CT scanner for the area’s Children’s Hospital. The station’s listeners responded overwhelmingly, resulting in an extra 90,000GRB (approximately $141,000), which will be used to purchase other needed equipment, most likely special anesthesia machines needed in the CT/MR suite. The donation may not literally warm the heart, but the good will should.