TMC Pulse July 2016

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t m c » p u l s e | j u ly 2 0 1 6 25 The pair were also able to team up with the university where Maldonado works, which Suarez said was a huge help in legitimizing their efforts. "The medical school got engaged with us very early, and we thought that was a great idea because we had people that were truly committed—people who were going to be overseeing the deliv- ery of all the supplies, the medications that we were going to collect," Suarez said. "That gave us a sense of relief and more confidence that everything would work appropriately." Those who have donated or offered assistance include Cleveland Clinic, Duke University Hospital, Henry Ford Hospital, the University of Rochester, Stanford University, Diabetes Action Research and Education Foundation, Texas Children's Hospital and CHI St. Luke's Health–Baylor St Luke's Medical Center, as well as numerous private citizens and students from var- ious universities who raised money via GoFundMe pages. Maldonado and Suarez are also part- nering with United Airlines and Airlink, an organization that links airlines to humanitarian relief efforts, to coordi- nate the shipping of 40,000 pounds of supplies to Ecuador—not an easy task. "The main issue now is all the logistics," Maldonado said. "You need to coordinate with the government and some of the medications we want to share are controlled substances," which requires working with the DEA. The supplies are currently in stor- age at Baylor St. Luke's McNair Campus as Maldonado and Suarez work out the paperwork and approvals required for shipping. Ultimately they will over- see the distribution of the supplies in Ecuador from the Universidad San Francisco de Quito, where Maldonado works, to the temporary medical centers set up in response to the earthquake as well as the main hospitals in Quito and Guayaquil, which have been taking in the most seriously injured patients. "We will be working with volunteers, mostly students and medical students from Ecuador, who will be helping unpack all the material and then redis- tribute things and send to the places where they're needed," Suarez said. "We're planning on doing this maybe as an ongoing effort for the next year or so, to see whether we can actually get and send more." The amount of materials and the donations they have managed to collect will certainly make an impact on treatment and recovery post- earthquake, but they also have the potential to help far beyond disaster response in a country that often lacks medical supplies in the best of times. "The amount of supplies that I have to work with is not even close to what I was used to when I was in the States training," Maldonado said. "The whole medical system is in need of improve- ment—the quality of medications and the quality of medical supplies that they have. This is a project that is not just going to help the post-earthquake relief, but it's going to help the country for a good long time." This is a project that is not just going to help the post-earthquake relief, but it's going to help the country for a good long time. — NELSON MALDONADO, M.D. Professor of Neurology at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito and Director of the Neurovascular Unit at Eugenio Espejo Hospital Local children affected by the earthquake. Far right: Michelle Grunauer, M.D., dean of the medical school at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito in Ecuador. Middle and far right photos provided by Nelson Maldonado, M.D. Above and lower left credit: Associated Press

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