Andrew Michail, a 20-year-old pre-med student at Wayne State University, wanted to make a difference in the lives of low-income patients whom he helped during volunteer stints at medical clinics in Detroit.
He noticed many clinic patients were in dire need of medical equipment—wheelchairs, walkers, canes and oxygen tanks—and other materials such as diabetes-testing supplies, meters and syringes for insulin. The Detroit medical clinics that served the poor also needed equipment such as EKGs, heart defibrillators, blood pressure cuffs and medical beds.
“Even though I had knowledge of the poor situation in the city, I did not know it was as bad as it is,” said Michail, a junior who hopes to attend Wayne State's medical school after graduation.
So in 2012, Michail founded the Medical Outreach Group with students from other universities in Southeast Michigan.
The purpose and business plan of Medical Outreach is simple: Seek donations and solicit old or unneeded medical equipment and supplies from physician offices, hospitals or individuals, and match the donations with needy organizations and people.
So far, Medical Outreach has donated more than $80,000 in supplies to several clinics in Detroit. Donors include McLaren Clarkston (Mich.) hospital; Beaumont Cardiovascular Specialists in Farmington Hills; and Sinai-Grace Hospital, Detroit.
“Medical centers place ads on Craigslist or throw things away,” Michail said. “We find out from them if they have old stuff they want to donate.”
While some hospitals have donated, Michail said he is making a push to persuade more hospitals and large physician organizations to donate.
“One problem we face is they don't know who we are,” Michail said. “(Hospitals) tell us they donate (for uses) outside the U.S. We tell them there are many needs here in Detroit.”
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