Release Date: 5/20/2010
St. Anthony's Aids Animal Rescue Efforts with Donations of Supplies
Dr. Heather Schatz, veterinarian at Advantage Veterinary Center in High Ridge, spends time with her own dog, Millie, who she describes as “a purebred mutt.” Dr. Schatz is one of the recipients of the outdated or obsolete medical supplies donated by St. Anthony’s Medical Center to local animal shelters and clinics.
St. Francis of Assisi, founder of the Franciscan sisters who established St. Anthony’s Medical Center, is revered as the patron saint of animals. His legacy of serving the sick, the poor and those needing comfort and care is carried out each day at St. Anthony’s.
That legacy extends to his love of animals. For more than a decade, St. Anthony’s employees have collected medical supplies that are outdated, obsolete or no longer sterile and donated them to local animal shelters and clinics.
“It is sad when we have the ability to fix animals, but not the financial resources,” said Heather Schatz, DVM, veterinarian at Advantage Veterinary Center in High Ridge. Dr. Schatz, who provides health check-ups and spay and neuter services for the Open Door Animal Sanctuary in House Springs, said the no-kill shelter is grateful for the supplies donated by St. Anthony’s.
“I use the sponges, towels, sutures and some re-sterilized scalpel blades – these still are quality supplies and they definitely help us,” Dr. Schatz said. “We are keeping things out of landfills, keeping costs down for the shelters and helping the animals.”
Ora Wood, St. Anthony’s director of Surgery, said unused surgical supplies that still are viable for patients often are used by doctors or nurses on mission trips bringing medical care to undeveloped areas. One former employee comes twice a year to pick up obsolete equipment and instruments for her mission in Guatemala. Nearly $20,000 of supplies were donated last year to help provide relief in Haiti. Items not viable for use on humans are donated to local animal relief organizations.
“We do not donate drugs, only disposable products such as drapes, staples, sutures, wires and stents,” Wood said. “We have donated boxes of supplies to the St. Louis Zoo and to the vet school at Missouri State University at Columbia. Rather than just throw these things away, why not donate to someone who can use them to help someone else?”
S. Travis Paluck, manager of Operating Room Supply and Central Sterilization, has four rescued animals himself, two dogs and two cats. He understands the need of animal shelters and is gratified by the response at St. Anthony’s. “Our employees always are trying to find ways to donate things we can’t use,” he said. “Since we constantly are updating our technology, we now have an outlet for our old equipment – we can use it to help others.”
Dot Holt, CRNA., a nurse anesthetist in Obstetrics, volunteers on her day off with the Open Door Animal Sanctuary. She also is the adoptive “mom” of three “special-needs” cats – one is half-blind, one has an autoimmune disorder and the most recent addition has a paralyzed leg.
“My husband, Doug, and I were fostering him, but we figured he’d probably be ours – who wants a three-legged cat? We call him ‘Chance,’ because he got a really big second chance in life!” Holt said with a grin. “Today, money is so tight that people can’t afford to take care of their animals anymore, and the shelters are overwhelmed. Shelter workers have to decide which animals are taken in and which must be turned away. I asked the Labor & Delivery nurses to give me anything they were going to throw away, and I deliver the supplies to local animal shelters and clinics.”
Besides Open Door, Holt takes the donated supplies to the Wildlife and Rehabilitation Clinic in High Ridge, Advantage Veterinary Center and the House Springs Animal Clinic. The clinic vets treat the shelter animals for half their usual fees.
“If you open a box of sutures, you can’t keep the unused ones, because they are no longer sterile,” Holt said. “Some supplies are perfectly good; but, because of the strict standards in the OR, you can’t use them. Big-ticket items, like gauzes, lap sponges, towels, sutures, bulk syringes and drapes, are in high demand at the animal clinics. In the human world, you can’t use them; in the animal world, you can.
“My co-workers and Ora’s staff are helping collect these supplies; they don’t have to do that, and I’m very thankful that they do,” Holt said. “I just think the people at St. Anthony’s are wonderful, everybody coming together, taking time out of their days – and their hearts – to help the animals.”
For information, please call our Health Access Line at 314-ANTHONY (268-4669) or 800-554-9550 or visit find a physician online.
At St. Anthony's, our vision is to be the area's premier health care organization
— and your first choice for health care services.