SCARBOROUGH – Celia McGuckian showed up Saturday at the Partners for World Health community drop-off day with a car full of medical supplies that accumulated during the last month of her father’s life.

McGuckian, of Auburn, said the 43 pounds of items, including crutches, an inflatable mattress and other supplies, would have gone unused without the community drop-off day. Still to come on the next trip, she said, is the “Cadillac of wheelchairs,” which her father used twice.

“This is just wonderful. I was just amazed by how much waste there is. Now I know why our health costs are so high,” McGuckian said.

The community drop-off day is one way Partners for World Health collects medical supplies that otherwise would have ended up in the trash, and redistributes them to developing countries. The supplies come from nursing homes and hospitals, which are required to throw out medical supplies in the rooms of discharged patients, even though the materials were never opened. The service saves the institutions the cost of disposal. They are also collected from patients and their family members.

The organization collected 28,300 pounds in 2010 and 57,650 pounds in 2011. It operates out of a warehouse at 7 Glasgow Road. Volunteers put in 800 hours a month bundling the supplies for shipment around the world.

On Saturday, Dr. Hector Tarraza, chief of obstetrics and gynecology at Maine Medical Center, readied 14 medical supply bags that will fly with him and others in a team headed to a hospital in Bangladesh on Tuesday. The team will spend the next two weeks performing 60 to 70 surgeries and caring for 2,000 to 3,000 patients.

Tarraza, who goes on eight to 10 medical trips around the world each year, said 90 percent of the materials in the bag were collected by Partners for World Health. He said each bag contained everything they would need to treat patients.

“There is nothing wrong with this stuff,” he said.

Peter Maher of Yarmouth dropped off two wheelchairs, one of them motorized, and a patient lift.

“These were used by my parents, who passed away in the past year,” Maher said.

Staff Writer Beth Quimby can be contacted at 791-6363 or at:

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