ICU nurse encourages company to donate its N95 masks

Posted at 9:10 PM, Mar 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-19 23:25:52-04

CLEVELAND — As the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. grows, so does the dire need for medical supplies for hospital employees.

The declaration of desperation from government officials has been heard nationwide.

Federal and state health experts are calling for donations of critical medical supplies to area hospitals.

“Gloves, surgical masks, N95 masks, face shields and gowns as well,” Dr. James Hill said.

A University Hospitals ICU nurse, who asked that News 5 not share her name, discovered an online listing in Northeast Ohio for the product most in demand.

“Specifically N95 masks which are respirators that kind of help reduce the transmission of COVID among our healthcare staff,” Hill said.

A Cleveland-based company, Online Liquidation Auction, buys unsold items from businesses like Amazon, Home Depot and Overstock and had several of the respirator masks in stock.

Online customers were bidding on the masks for as much as $26 a piece until the ICU nurse encouraged the company’s owners to donate them instead.

The online auction postings for the N95 masks was removed Thursday afternoon after managers for the company delivered them to University Hospitals Thursday afternoon.

Dr. Hill was thrilled by donation.

“It’s very important that we’re not only actively preserving our supplies to the best of our ability,” Hill said, “But also asking the community and other suppliers to please give what they can.”

Hospitals nationwide are pleading for more of that type of community support.

Hill put into perspective just how badly that protective equipment is needed in the fight against COVID-19.

“There are a large number of caregivers that will interact with one critically ill patient,” Hill said, “And so the supply that we just received will probably last us one patient through one shift.”

If you are in a position to give away N95 masks, gloves and protective glasses, you’re encouraged to donate them to your nearest hospital.

University Hospitals is accepting donations in the main lobby at each location.

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