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The East End Community Comes Together To Produce Isolation Gowns For Stony Brook Southampton Hospital

Nicole Barylski

Stony Brook Southampton Hospital physicians and nurses in the protective isolation gowns locally produced and hand-assembled by over 100 dedicated East End volunteers, along with support from Riverhead Building Supply, Reilly Architectural, and Wright & Company Construction. (Courtesy Photo)

As the demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) skyrocketed in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), Stony Brook Southampton Hospital set out to shore up their supplies, in particular isolation gowns.

Darrin Wiggins, MD, Vice Chair of Stony Brook Southampton Hospital Emergency Department, and Ken Wright, Chairman of the Southampton Hospital Association, generated multiple protective gown prototypes - one of which was very close to the isolation gowns currently utilized by the Hospital's healthcare workers.

That jumpstarted an innovative, collaborative campaign that resulted in 10,000 new isolation gowns, made in approximately two and half weeks. The project was championed by a group of more than 100 committed volunteers, as well as longtime business associates that included Michael Reilly of Reilly Architectural, a division of Pella Corporation; Tracy Kappenberg, of Riverhead Building Supply; and Leonard Skuggevik, Tuckahoe School Superintendent.

"No request was too large and everyone eagerly jumped aboard the project," Wright stated. "In these troubled times, for those of us that are staying home, it's so valuable to be able do something that feels worthwhile, and this absolutely feels worthwhile."

Riverhead Building Supply contributed 300,000 square feet of 2ml polyethylene (almost 8 acres of material) and ten miles of tape to the cause. While Reilly Architectural had to put its projects on hold as a result of the stay-at-home order, staff volunteered their time, on alternating schedules, to cut the gowns at Reilly Architectural's Calverton plant. In under a week, materials had been procured, equipment was programmed to cut thousands of blanks, and once that had been completed, the product was temporarily stored at the Tuckahoe School.

After that, nearly 100 volunteers, including more than 25 Wright & Company Construction employees, diligently worked on completing the gowns. First, gowns - in clusters of 50 - were packed into bins with tape and instructions. Then, a group of seven drivers transported the bins to an at-home assembly team. After volunteers completed a bin, the drivers returned to pick up the finished product and drop off another batch to be completed. Before being distributed to Stony Brook Southampton Hospital, as needed, the isolation gowns were stored at Tuckahoe School.

Ken Wright, Chair, Southampton Hospital Association, Philip Alford of Wright & Company Construction, and Michael Reilly, Reilly Architectural. (Courtesy Photo)

"Our community wants to do everything possible to support our local healthcare workers on the frontlines battling COVID-19," Wright added.

Additionally, Stony Brook University's iCREATE Lab has fulfilled its mission of creating 5,000 3-D Printed Face Shield for front line healthcare practitioners. The team dropped off its final batch to Stony Brook University Hospital on Friday, April 17.

After realizing the iCREATE Lab was capable of creating the 3-D Printed Face Shield and producing a successful prototype, the efforts commenced on Friday, March 6. Shortly after, the project garnered support from the extended community, with the Suffolk Cooperative Library System, the private Stony Brook School, Estee Lauder, Brookhaven National Lab and private citizens fabricating the 3-D element of the face shields.

"As soon as the call went out for printers, we knew we needed to offer our support," said Danielle Waskiewicz, Westhampton Free Library Director, which was among local libraries that lent their 3-D printer to the cause. "We are a community resource, and it was imperative that we do our part to assist in the effort."

The 3-D Printed Face Shields have been distributed to Stony Brook University Hospital, Long Island State Veterans Home, Stony Brook Southampton Hospital and the testing site and field ED at Stony Brook University's South P Lot off Stony Brook Road.

"Throughout this herculean effort, I want to thank you, your employees, students, and organizations for your unwavering support during this crisis; please know that the University is looking to formally recognize the organizations, partners, and volunteers who have stepped up to help," expressed David Ecker, director of iCREATE at Stony Brook University.

iCREATE, a program under the Division of Information Technology at Stony Brook University, champions innovative technologies within Stony Brook University's Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) to "provide a hands-on environment of collaborative endeavors in order to spark creativity, innovation, and to ultimately redefine technological boundaries, engagement, creation, and innovation."

Nicole is the Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com where she focuses on lifestyle, nightlife, and mixology. She grew up in the Hamptons and currently resides in Water Mill. www.hamptons.com NicoleBarylski NicoleBarylski

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