Stories about dedicated and vulnerable frontline caregivers during the current Covid-19 virus crisis deserve more recognition and publicity. The unselfish and uplifting efforts of Paige Gugerty and her family is a great example.
Paige, an aspiring Oncology Nurse, was a 2018 Flynn Fellow from UPenn at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP). She now works there as an Oncology Nurse and recently has been serving as a frontline caregiver for Covid-19 patients.
On March 26, in response to her concerns about the potential shortage of masks for frontline nurses at HUP, Paige enlisted the help of her Hofstra Med student sister Emma as well her parents, Helene and Dave Gugerty, all of whom live in Bayville, NY, to help find a possible remedy. After initiating a volunteer effort to solicit extra masks and PPE from local dentists and doctors offices and construction companies, the Gugertys volunteered to make homemade masks. According to her father Dave, “We decided to put our sweat equity where our mouth was about the possible PPE shortage”. At last count, in their converted basement, as a concerned family–and led by talented seamstress Helene–they had produced 200 masks for friends, families, and various healthcare professionals, including HUP’s nurses!
“Being a first year nurse I never expected my career to start with a pandemic. I’m very grateful for all the valuable support that’s been provided to me and all the Penn Medicine healthcare professionals in this trying time” said Paige.
Inspired by Paige’s initiative and her parents’ unselfish and creative handiwork, I decided to see whether it might be feasible to obtain a larger supply of such masks directly from China. Through a mutual friend, I was fortunate to meet Jill Davis, whose family aerospace business had a well-established supply chain in China for such safety products. Thanks to Jill’s invaluable help, notwithstanding the global logistics complexities and the unprecedented demand for such products, we were able to obtain and recently deliver over 2,000 high-quality respiratory masks (including several hundred N95-type masks) for the exclusive benefit of HUP nurses.
I hope you enjoy the attached pictures of the Gugerty family and encourage you to give them a well-deserved “virtual” round of applause!