Annabeth Pruett’s track injury was relatively minor, but her visit to Athens Orthopedic Clinic gave the Prince Avenue Christian School junior a major idea for helping others who faced injury and needed help.
Pruett, a Madison County resident, quickly recognized a need for a storehouse of well-maintained, durable medical equipment which could be distributed to people who needed such things as crutches, knee braces, walking boots, walkers, and other medical supplies which, even with insurance coverage, could be expensive if purchased new.
The orthopedic staff referred Pruett to the Mercy Health Center, where her idea was well-received. Clinic director Tracy Thompson told her she would need to solicit donations, clean and inventory the equipment, develop a distribution plan, and manage its storage in the basement of the clinic.
And since May, Pruett has done just that, and the equipment which has been contributed is now ready for use.
“I’m a pretty determined person,” says Annabeth, “and I really wanted to make this kind of equipment available to people in need. Over the past few months, I have worked with Athens Orthopedic and the Mercy Health Center to build up an inventory of supplies and equipment. We’re ready now to make it available through the Center’s clinic.”
“When a patient is injured, medical personnel often prescribe specialized equipment to help in the patient’s recovery. Usually the patient would go to a medical supply store to purchase or lease the equipment—usually at full price. Now they have a source for well-maintained equipment. They simply need to come by the Mercy Health Center to see if what they need is in stock. The patient’s cost for the equipment is a donation to the clinic,” said Pruett.
The mission of the Mercy Health Center is to provide quality healthcare in a Christ-centered environment to the Athens-area under-served neighbors, through a community of volunteers. “Annabeth has done a great job with this volunteer project,” said the center’s administrative assistant Mary Baxter.
Since Pruett began working on the project, even more equipment has been contributed, largely by patients of Athens Orthopedic Clinic, where she has placed a donation box.
“All gifts are tax-deductible,” she said, “because the Mercy Health Center is a non-profit organization. Equipment donations can be brought to the donation box at Athens Orthopedic Clinic or brought to the Mercy Health Center.”
Now that the program is set up and the equipment is cleaned and ready for use, she can focus her attention on developing a good marketing and distribution plan.
“It won’t do anyone any good if the equipment stays in storage because no one knows it is available,” she said. “Now we need to get the word out to patients who need an alternative to the expensive new medical equipment. That’s the natural next step. I have emailed all the local high school athletic directors to let them know of this resource,” she said, “but this equipment is not just for athletes. Anyone in need can come to the Mercy Health Center to see if we have the equipment they need in our inventory.”
Pruett has been a student at Prince Avenue since her freshman year, and she plays softball, basketball, and runs track. She is hoping to play softball in college following her graduation in 2013.
For more information about this program, contact Annabeth Pruett at firstname.lastname@example.org.