Unused medical supplies donated to local hospital

FSU faculty and staff arranged a donation of $8,000 in medical supplies to MetroWest Medical Center (MWMC) according to a March 26 University press release.

The donation was suggested by chemistry professor Dwayne Bell, said Margaret Carroll, dean of the College of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

The College of STEM, Health and Wellness Center, and Athletic Department donated supplies, according to Lorretta Holloway, vice president of enrollment and student development. 

The College of STEM donated supplies from the biology, chemistry, nutrition, and nursing departments.

Health Services Director Ilene Hofrenning said MWMC asked if the University could donate any extra personal protective equipment (PPE).

Hofrenning said she told MWMC’s materials management director which supplies the Health Center could donate.

Carroll said, “When I reached out to the COVID-19 working group, Ilene Hofrenning said she had heard from MWMC and was working on a donation.”

She said Bell and biology lab technician Kathryn Kaufman gathered supplies from the science departments on March 19. Carroll said they mainly donated gloves from the biology and chemistry supplies on campus.

Carroll said both departments keep large stocks because they go through gloves “quickly.”

Most items donated came from laboratory stocks, she said. While Carroll took inventory of the donation March 23, she added alcohol swabs from the biology labs. The following day, she moved the supplies to the McCarthy Center lobby, where items from the health center were added.

Hofrenning said the health center donated gowns, gloves, face shields, and procedure masks.

“The Health Center had ordered PPE for our use,” she said, “But when we decided we would be doing remote learning and there would only be 30 students on campus, we realized we would not need all the supplies we had ordered, so we gave most of them to MWMC.”

Holloway said the health center had extra supplies because physical visits are suspended.

In a message from the health center emailed to students April 1, they said the suspension was made per order of Gov. Charlie Baker’s advisory to increase social distancing.

Carroll said she worked with the Business Office to ensure the donation was made legally. She reached out to FSU administrators and eventually to a contact at MWMC.

She said the donation was picked up by a courier from MWMC. Hofrenning said this was due to the large quantity of supplies contributed by the University departments.

Holloway said the topic of hospitals needing supplies came up during a COVID-19 morning meeting attended by the University’s top administrators. She said the donation process involved asking what campus supplies will not be used during the period of restricted facilities use.

She said, “I think everybody needs to do their part, and it would be a shame if we had whatever people need and it was just sitting in a box while someone else is suffering.

“We’ve got medical professionals who are putting their lives on the line – literally – to take care of people,” Holloway said. “It would just be wrong if we had supplies that people needed, and we just had it sitting in a box in a room.”

She said feeling like you can’t do anything to help or change the situation raises anxiety. “Any little thing that a person can do, or a group can do, I think is helpful – and not just for the people who are receiving the materials or the gift or the food – it’s also good for the people who are actually doing it.”

Hofrenning said, “We were happy to donate to a local health organization. We are very pleased that we were able to contribute supplies to those that are working on the front lines to keep them and patients safe.”

Carroll said, “I am proud that FSU was able to help out in this difficult time and am so thankful to my colleagues who worked to make this happen.”

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