STOLEN MEDICAL EQUIPMENT

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A string of Central Ohio hospital thefts appears to have been solved after 5 defibrillators were recovered from a Grandview Heights store.

Co-owner of reTagit Paul Childress says a customer saw the medical equipment on his company’s website. Childress says he had no reason to think the items were stolen because the man who brought them in had done legitimate business before.

“Some of these items had been taken out of use and now we’ve learned that several of the items were still in use and have actually been stolen.” Childress says.

Columbus police recovered five defibrillators from reTagit. Three were from OSU medical center and two were from Riverside and Grant Hospitals. Spokesman for Ohio Health, Chuck Smith says the thefts began at Grant in November and spread to OSU. In all, 20 medical devices including 13 defibrillators were taken. Smith says the equipment is left on carts in hallways and in patient rooms so it is accessible in emergencies.

“This equipment to be available for patients cannot be locked in a room, can’t be somewhere locked up or even chained to a cart because it has to be readily available.” Smith says Smith says backup equipment was used and at no time was patient care compromised. At OSU medical center, Director of clinical engineering, Robert Howard says 5 defibrillators were stolen over two December weekends.

“I really didn’t see any resale value for these things because their serial numbers are tracked by manufacturer and eventually should they go in for repair the manufacturer would always be able to return it to us.” Howard says.

Howard estimates the value of each stolen defibrillator at about 12 thousand dollars. A suspect was arrested last week at Grant with 3 stolen laptop computers. Hospital officials at OSU and Ohio Health are working to tighten security.

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