Patty Magnant was already busy sewing scrub hats for some local hospital nurses when her husband, a Fort Myers vascular surgeon, learned just how critical the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) caused by the coronavirus really is.
“My sister is an emergency room doctor and she shared with me that at hospitals everywhere right now, they’re running low of surgical hats, gowns and masks,” shares Joseph Magnant, MD, FACS, RPVI.
“That’s their equipment and they need it badly, and that got Patty and I thinking that we should start making more of these reusable cloth scrub hats for the nurses and doctors in the ERs and ICUs.”
Dr. Magnant, the founder and CEO of Vein Specialists, which is dedicated to the minimally invasive treatment of leg vein disorders and has offices in Fort Myers and Bonita Springs, began his initiative in early April.
He is one of a host of medical professionals across the state of Florida who are devoting time to helping others during the coronavirus crisis, and within days of he and his wife beginning their initiative, it was already expanding.
“So our initial thought was to make these surgical hats that were more durable, that the doctors and nurses could take home and
wash and wear the next day,” Dr. Magnant explains. “But then we came up with another idea, another way to help out during this crisis.
“When the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) came out the other day and suggested that people start wearing face coverings whenever you’re outside of the home, we came up with a way to make those as well.”
Dr. Magnant’s idea for a face covering was inspired by the buffs he’s seen at area sporting goods stores. He and Patty made their first few “re-buffs’’ out of old t-shirts but soon began making them out of a better grade of material they purchased online.
“They’re tubular knit cloths that you can pull up and cover your mouth and nose with,” Dr. Magnant says. “We gave the first few away to friends and neighbors and my parents, and now we’re making them to sell to benefit the Ronald McDonald House Charities.
“I’ve supported the Ronald McDonald House Charities for years, and because volunteers are not allowed to help them cook meals at this time, what they really need right now is money. So, we came up with this idea that we’re calling Hats 4 Heros.”
Through the Hats for Heros program, Vein Specialists will donate one hand-sewn surgical scrub hat to an emergency and acute care medical professional somewhere in Southwest Florida for every $10 donated to the Ronald McDonald House charities.
For every $5 donation to the Ronald McDonald House charities, Vein Specialists will donate a hand-sewn Re-Buff to anyone in need of facial protection. A $5 donation can feed one family in need, while a $10 donation can feed two families.
“My expertise is in cutting the patterns,” Dr. Magnant says of his role in the production of the hats and buffs. “Patty does the sewing, and like anything it takes time, but it’s starting to take off.”
Patty and Dr. Magnant have also started a GoFundMe account in an attempt to bring awareness to their cause. It can be found at gofundme.com.