Monroe Clinic, a Member of SSM Health, 2020 Community Benefit

Protecting First Responders with Proper Personal Protective Equipment

Sometimes in the health care world, small gestures of kindness can make a huge difference. When the COVID-19 pandemic surfaced, the emergency services team at Monroe Clinic, a member of SSM Health, saw a community need and jumped into action, working quickly to protect frontline first responders, including police officers and EMS workers. 
Recognizing that the national supply shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) was impacting local first responders, Monroe Clinic knew they could make a difference and help responders who were using inadequate fitting N95 masks or had no PPE supplies. Anna Taylor, director of emergency services, and Mary Tessendorf, EMS & trauma coordinator, rallied their team and got to work. First, a team of ER staff and EMS personnel identified and coordinated a N95 Mask Fit Test for all local police departments and EMS workers in our region. Very quickly they fit tested over 300 individuals from 16 EMS services and other local units. 
The emergency services staff then realized that EMS workers didn’t have proper isolation gowns. The team partnered with a local church who purchased fabric and materials. Tessendorf and members of the Green County EMS were able to cut out 40 gowns and distribute to staff and members of the Mennonite Community to sew washable and reusable gowns. 
“We took matters into our own hands to protect other health care workers, our friends, family and neighbors. I’m very proud of the Monroe Clinic’s emergency service team; they got busy outside of our already hectic pace and proved that we are stronger together,” said Taylor.