Arlington, VA

Virginia Hospital Center has received a sizable donation of surgical masks and gowns amid a nationwide shortage of personal protective equipment for healthcare workers.

Arlington-based Marymount University donated 550 surgical masks, 110 isolation gowns, 60 full-body suits and seven reusable goggles from its Department of Nursing, the school tells ARLnow.

“When I became aware of the dire circumstances that the nurses at VHC were in, I responded without hesitation,” Dr. Catherine Hillberry, technology coordinator for the nursing school, said in a press release. “[We] are committed to serving others and supporting the community in difficult times – and stepping up to help those who put their lives on the line daily to help save lives is a privilege.”

The donation was greeted with appreciation from workers at the hospital.

“The generous donation of PPE is having a direct and positive impact in my unit. Having it available means we have the tools and resources necessary to do our jobs,” said Karin Kutscher, an ICU nurse at Virginia Hospital Center and a Marymount grad.

“When we leave the hospital, there is a risk of increased exposure if we do not have proper supplies when caring for our patients,” said Alicia Marconi, a Marymount instructor and another ICU nurse at the hospital. “If we, the health care workers, get sick, then there are fewer of us to take care of patients in need.”

Virginia Hospital Center is currently accepting donations of goggles, hand sanitizer, face shields, medical isolation gowns, bleach and bleach wipes, but only in unopened boxes, according to a “community support” web page set up by the hospital.

“Please email [email protected] to connect with our team,” VHC said, adding that it is “not accepting donations of homemade masks for safety reasons.”

The hospital is also accepting donations of individually packaged food via restaurants and catering companies. For others who want to help during this trying time, VHC notes that “blood donations across the country have dropped significantly due to the COVID-19 pandemic response” and “individuals are not at risk of contracting COVID-19 from donating blood.”

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