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Hospital surplus going to overseas facilities

By Victoria Colliver
San Francisco Chronicle

About 6,500 boxes of medical supplies - sterile surgical sutures, syringes, gloves, slightly used walkers and wheelchairs, exam tables, gauze bandages - are piled up in a San Leandro warehouse, waiting to be shipped off to developing countries and health clinics that need them.

The warehouse, which started accepting supplies in August and is just beginning to ship the goods overseas, is the first expansion in the 10-year history of MedShare International, a nonprofit based in Decatur, Ga., that sends surplus medical materials overseas to hospital and medical clinics.

The organization uses a Web inventory management system that allows health care providers throughout the world to order exactly what they need.

"We're kind of like Big Lots for the relief world," said Chuck Haupt, who left the high-tech industry last year to run MedShare's western region.

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