TU donations help local emergency preparedness

April 30, 2020

CHP departments continue to loan, donate PPE, beds and other equipment to area hospitals during COVID-19 crisis

OT student with masks
Occupational Therapy student Caitlin Pattanashetti with masks she has sewn to donate.

The combination of high-quality education, topnotch medical institutions and innovative businesses has made the Towson community strong for decades. Towson University is more proud than ever to support its long-time partners during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recently the Department of Nursing loaned or donated 19 hospital beds, 18 hospital bed tables and dozens of other pieces of equipment including meters, regulators and thermometers to the Greater Baltimore Medical Center (GBMC) to assist with the creation of a COVID-19 surge unit.

Peter Morin, a simulation technologist in the Department of Nursing, says everyone within the College of Health Professions was eager to get the equipment where it’s needed most.

“We see a number of our former students working in all of these hospitals. We want them and all the health care professionals to have every resource they need to help people in a safe manner,” Morin says.

Morin says the equipment came from the college’s state-of-the-art simulation labs in Linthicum Hall. Normally, students would be using the equipment, learning how to interact with patients and inserting IVs with hyper-realistic mannequins and volunteers who act as patients.

But, with social distancing measures in place, Morin says, the simulation labs weren’t going to be used. Towson University’s main campus has eight simulation lab rooms, and the nursing program in Hagerstown has five.

Hospital beds and tables in Linthicum Hall ready for donation.
Hospital beds and tables in Linthicum Hall ready for donation.

John Lazarou, a spokesman for GBMC, says the health care system has received numerous donations since the crisis began.

“We are truly grateful for the many generous community members, including Towson University’s Department of Nursing, who have donated food, masks and other vital supplies and resources for our hard-working staff,” Lazarou says. “We are touched by their generosity.”

The Department of Nursing has budgeted for all the equipment and supplies that were loaned or donated and will be able to replace all of it, Morin says.

Tigers of all stripes have been working hard to help out, though.

Faculty, students and staff from in the Department of Occupational Therapy & Occupational Science have been sewing facemasks to donate to local hospitals that take on Towson University students for fieldwork.

Sonia Lawson, an associate professor in the department, says volunteers have sewn about 400.

Students studying occupational therapy have to learn how to use a sewing machine, Lawson says, because sometimes clients need specialty slings, buttons moved on clothes or other alterations.

Sewing at home became a way for students to celebrate Occupational Therapy Month, recognized yearly in April.

“Because we are not on campus, we wanted to have an OT Month activity that students could do from their homes,” Lawson says.

Lawson says she’s working on safely collecting the masks then delivering them around the greater Baltimore area.

The department had already donated personal protective equipment, like gloves and gowns, to local medical facilities. Sewing the masks is a way for the department to stay connected and to take action to help the community.

“Being in health care, it means a lot to us to be able to keep health care providers and everyone safe,” Lawson says.

This story is one of several related to President Kim Schatzel’s priorities for Towson University: TU Matters to Maryland and BTU-Partnerships at Work for Greater Baltimore.