Departments Across Campus Donate Personal Protective Equipment to Local Health Care Workers

March 26, 2020
Amanda Nagy
People receive cart of donations outside emergency room.
A large cart of personal protective equipment from the Oberlin Science Center labs was delivered to Mercy Allen Hospital emergency room. Photo credit: Courtesy of Forrest Rose

Oberlin’s Student Health Services and faculty and staff in the Science Center recently donated their inventory of medical supplies to Mercy Health—Allen Hospital and Welcome Nursing Home to help protect health care workers dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak.

In the past week, Mercy’s emergency department received a substantial donation of N-95 face masks, surgical masks, face shields, gloves, disposable lab coats, and safety glasses from Student Health Services and the biology, chemistry and biochemistry, and neuroscience departments.

Aimee Holmes, an advanced practice registered nurse in Student Health, said the staff felt compelled to donate because they knew there was a need. 

“Every time I saw nurses and doctors on the news desperate for personal protective equipment, I knew we had to do something. With so few students on campus, we knew we would not need all the equipment that we had. We felt it should be with the medical staff on the front lines,” Holmes said.

Student Health made an initial donation of 100 N-95 masks and 25 face shields to Mercy, and 80 N-95 masks and 25 face shields to Welcome Nursing Home. 

“After the initial donation, we decided to take another look at our inventory when we heard that the hospital was still in need,” Holmes said. Student Health donated an additional 100 gowns, 16 deluxe protection kits and 3,000 gloves. 

Forrest Rose, the building manager for the Science Center, coordinated a donation of protective equipment from the teaching and research labs, which included 108 boxes of gloves, 14 boxes of disposable lab coats, 25 N-95 masks, 360 surgical masks, and a small quantity of face shields and safety glasses.

“Since most of our labs will be conducted remotely for the remainder of the semester, we do not have an urgent need for the stock of supplies we keep on hand to keep students and staff safe in the lab setting,” Rose said. “We couldn't sit by and let our supplies sit in cabinets or on shelves when the hospital could use them to help save lives. That’s why we donated—to save lives.”

Scott Jasko in Oberlin’s transportation department helped Science Center staff load a 6x3 flat cart piled four feet high with supplies, and they were delivered to Mercy’s ER the next morning. After their donation, Rose said the hospital informed him that they could use all of the nitrile gloves the labs can spare. “We are going to rise to the challenge,” he said.

“We appreciate everything that local health care providers are doing to take care of this community, and we want to make sure that they are staying safe,” Holmes said. “Although what we have given is not much compared to what is needed, if the supplies that we give can protect one person for one more day, then it’s worth it.”

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