Liberty University buys large supply of medical masks for local healthcare workers
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact supply chains across the country, limited access to personal protective equipment throughout the healthcare industry has put an added strain on personnel.
On Friday, a gift of 15,000 KN95 medical masks from Liberty University lessened this strain at several medical facilities in the surrounding area.
Shawn Crawford, CEO of CVFP-Medical Group, which operates seven regional family practice offices and three immediate care facilities, including the Liberty University Student Health Center, said Liberty President Jerry Falwell recently inquired about ways that the university could come to the aid of local healthcare workers at this critical time. Crawford called Falwell when he learned that a local supplier of medical equipment was able to access a large quantity of masks, a desperate need demonstrated by many local medical facilities. Falwell immediately directed his staff to make the $60,000 purchase, and the shipment arrived just a few days later.
CVFP handed out 5,000 of the masks to its staff, and the remaining 10,000 were distributed to Johnson Health Center, Physicians Treatment Center, Walk-In Care, Surgery Center, Community Access Network, Blue Ridge ENT, Radiology Consultants of Lynchburg, Central Virginia Imaging, Wyndhurst Family Medicine, and Gastroenterology Associates.
“In addition to the challenges we face with the disease itself, finding necessary protective equipment for our team members has been difficult,” Crawford said. “We are extremely grateful for the generous donation of masks from Liberty University. This will help ensure our team is protected and we can continue to provide the necessary care to the community.”
Other local healthcare professionals expressed their gratitude to Liberty for meeting a need that many of them thought they would never have.
“In my 25 years of nursing, I have recognized transmission-based precautions as a way to keep myself, my patients, and my peers safe all the while providing the highest quality care to my patients,” said Tracy Coleman, director of nursing at the Johnson Health Center. “I never imagined a time in which front-line workers in healthcare would be asked to provide care to patients without appropriate PPE (personal protective equipment) thus risking their own lives. I never envisioned a time in which healthcare workers would have to choose to walk away from patients in need due to the risk that the lack of PPE poses.”
She said she believes that the rising demand, hoarding, panic-buying, and misuse of life-saving masks have left staff “dangerously ill-equipped” to care for patients.
“We can’t stop COVID-19 without protecting our healthcare workers first,” Coleman said. “As the global supply of PPE remains uncertain, we have to rely on our local communities and partners to assist us in this ongoing battle. Any donation of N95 or KN95 masks is so incredibly appreciated as these masks are a lifeline for our healthcare providers. These masks keep us safe so we can continue to serve our patients and in turn keep our community safe.”
Gary Campbell, Chief Executive Officer of Johnson Health Center, echoed her sentiments: “We are so very grateful for the donation of the KN95 masks during this time and thankful for the partners we have. Without this effort, it would make our jobs even more difficult than they already are. Thank you.”
Radiology Consultants of Lynchburg and Central Virginia Imaging delivered this message to the university: “We are incredibly grateful for the donation of 65 KN95 masks for our team! This tremendous gift aids us in safely caring for our community during this pandemic. This type of generosity proves why our community is incredibly strong and destined to come out of this hardship even better! Thank you, Liberty University!”
Earlier in the month, Liberty donated two ventilators from its respiratory therapy program for use at Lynchburg General Hospital. In March, the university partnered with Sodexo, its dining services provider, to donate over $20,000 worth of food to Lynchburg-area charities. Liberty also gave 800 flash drives to Amherst County Public Schools to help students transition to doing their schoolwork at home.