Wounded… Why wasn’t Amazon there to help? Medical Supplies Opportunity

July 26, 2013

in Trust

I was in at Wound Care in Walnut Creek again yesterday getting my “wound” looked at. I’ll provide the quick description of the wound with a small picture set. Left to right. A day or two after the accident, month later and two months later. As you can see it is healing. How’d I get it. I was a passenger in a car that crashed. How’d I end up at Wound Care? That’s a story I could tell too. Mostly bad doctoring, and doctors aren’t really wound specialists. However, this post is about the medical supplies problem / challenge the patient faces. It’s also one about Amazon who have the products (via affiliates) and don’t deliver on-time.


So here’s the little scenario. I’m in Wound Care learning how to pack my wound with a Gauze Strip. Yes there is a fine 1/2 inch gauze strip that comes in a bottle and you buy a few meters of it. Basically you poke it under the loose skin that surrounds the wound after the hematoma has been drained. Yes that was news to me. As a patient very worried about healing, infection, and just doing the right thing I’m paying attention to the dressings and what they are doing with my leg. More importantly, I have to change this myself tomorrow, and the next day etc. So, I need a set of supplies at home. They give me one day’s worth of strip  and a shopping list as I leave.

Here’s a list of what I had to get straight away.

  • Gauze tape (medical supply store – found in Berkeley at 4X the Amazon price).
  • 4 inch gauze pads
  • 4 inch gauze wrap
  • tape
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Alcohol wipes
  • Sterile Saline Spray
  • Dakins Sol at 1/4 strength (a special antiseptic mix – from local pharmacy friendly with doctor – could have gotten by Amazon)

I definitely couldn’t get it all at my local CVS or RiteAid and they apparently wouldn’t have mixed and provided the Dakins solution.

For the gauze tape I looked on Amazon before chasing down a medical supply stores. The Wound Care office said I may find it in Berkeley which in the end I did. Unfortunately, Amazon didn’t have a Prime service and the “order” confirmation was sort of loose – read days to process warning. In other words the suppliers failed to match my sense of urgency. On Amazon, the gauze was less than $5.00 however even with an express delivery ($25+) there was no guarantee I’d have it in a day or two.  So I bought from Berkeley, paying $15 for the item and rejecting the idea of buying two as a slow delivery from Amazon was cheaper if I needed another.

On my next visit to Wound Care I was told don’t need the strip anymore. Use standard 4″ gauze to pack it. Still do you know how different gauze feels from different manufacturers. I’m sticking it in a wound in my leg. Should I be using J&J or CVS? Not clear. The doctor also recommended that I treat the wound now with Anasept Gel. They had no idea where to get it but while I was there we looked it up on Amazon. This is not a product that is available in any CVS. It’s approx. $25 per tube for 3 oz. I ordered on with Express shipping. Cost me $45. Of course this is all outside my United Healthcare plan (although I will try and claim). It arrived a couple of days later.

Anasept seems to be working. Although yesterday (now on a bi-weekly checkup) the Doctor shared an “Oh wow! It’s really working.” Turns out I’m the second patient he has used it on. Doesn’t make me more or less confident. I have already ordered a second tube. It came by slow boat. Taking 11 days to arrive from the day I ordered from Amazon. It came from a different supplier. It arrived in a simple UPS plastic envelop, wasn’t protected for heat and I pulled it “cooking” from my mailbox. This is a product that should be stored under 77 degrees F according to the back label.

So yesterday I had quite a discussion with Wound Care on getting supplies. Here’s a practice that specializes in difficult and hard to heal wounds. They use specialty products. Yesterday they gave me one Tagaderm Film (so I can swim) and if I want more I get it from Amazon. They, Wound Care, are not allowed to sell these items. They can’t even do some  replenish scheme. It is against the rules.

So what I can’t understand is why there isn’t a company on Amazon that meets the Prime criteria and sells these products. I’m sure these are just a few. Even a little webpage  at the doctors with a tick list of what I need and my email. At home it will open the pages for each item on Amazon.  Seriously there are people that have to re-order supplies every week. Even a patient with the right app could go in and ask for the shopping list and even quantity before the next visit etc. I’m just astonished that there is such a big gap. All it needs is one good medical supplies store to go online and reach out to me and you rather than places like Wound Care. The trick to make this an effectively business is “speedy” delivery. Eg Prime style – within two days. These are profitable products (although there is obvious price scalping out there too) what’s so hard?

  • NevadaJay

    Greetings Wounded… Been there, done that. Those of us fussing around with a fairly serious wound issue are pretty much on our own. However, by using Google (or some other search engine if you have a preference) we can find the stuff we need to rejoin the healthy. Well, not me cuz I’m a 64-year-old geezer with a lovely case of diabetes (Type II no less). I’m more or less doomed but we’ll figure a way out of it and move on down the road. I’ve been working on my problem for just about 3-years but progress is being made.
    First, you have to find the online retailers that carry the stuff (be very specific) that you need. I search for the “cheapest [whatever].” Lets say you’re looking for Anasept Gel. Search for the “cheapest Anasept Gel 3.0 ounce.” Trouble is, there aren’t many outfits that sell Anasept Gel and believe it or not, Amazon is easily the most expensive of them. I found an outfit by the name of Healthy Kin that carries it for $22.95- the cheapest I’ve yet found. They do a very quick turn-around and you’ll have it in just a few days. The other stuff you’ll need is easier to find but not many of the outfits have everything. Among the best I’ve found are: Vitality Medical, Allegro Medical, and Moore Medical. The one that suits my needs best is Vitality but you’ll just have to go through your specific needs and check them against what each of them carries AND the prices. Do a little spreadsheet so you can easily compare prices AND shipping. Some outfits just don’t have everything like the Anasept. Just purchase that from Healthy Kin and get everything from your major supplier. All of the suppliers have pretty quick turn-around but Vitality Medical has been the best.
    Don’t despair and don’t let the bastards get you down. Just keep snooping until you find the best prices and try them out. The more you can purchase from a single supplier, the more you’ll save on shipping. Drop me a line if you want to visit about this. Good luck with your wound. If you’re young and non-diabetic you’ll heal up quickly. Cheers!

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