[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
February 24, 1993

Donation of Unused Surgical Supplies: Help or Hindrance

JAMA. 1993;269(8):986-987. doi:10.1001/jama.1993.03500080034013

To the Editor.  —I want to laud Drs Rosenblatt and Silverman1 on their efforts to collect and recycle equipment for medical needs in developing countries.A word of caution is needed, however, before everyone starts collecting odds and ends to send abroad. Most donated gifts are sent in small quantities at great cost and end up on shelves and locked closets in hospitals in developing countries. In general, before surgical implants are ever sent, one must send all the appropriate tools, with replacement parts, necessary for use with specific implants. A large quantity of each size implant should be sent (100 or more) so that the technology that one is sending will be around for a while. So often, the surgical technology in hospitals varies by what donated gift happens to be available that day. We do not want to make countries dependent on donated gifts that cannot be replaced