MONROE, CT —While New York City’s leaders scrambled for medical equipment to handle a surge in hospitalizations from the coronavirus outbreak in April, physician assistants, nurse practitioners and nurses stood in line inside Park Central Hotel to receive new sets of scrubs.
Deidre Norton, of Monroe, and her friend, Erin Karsif of Stratford, bought the 340 sets of scrubs to help those on the frontlines of the pandemic.
“They work 12 hour days, 21 days straight,” Norton said. “Laundry isn’t something they should have on their brain after a long day’s work, so I wanted them to have a few sets of scrubs to space out cleaning them.”
Medical professionals from around the country came to New York through Krucial Staffing to help city hospitals in the hot zone. Norton, who is a physician assistant herself, said she wanted to go there too, but it is too risky because she is on special medications for immunosuppression.
But Norton was determined to help in some way. She and Karsif also came up with a way for others to support the cause.
The women started the GoFundMe page called Scrubs for COVID-19 First Responders in NYC to defray the $4,000 it cost to purchase the new scrubs. As of Tuesday, the page received 46 donations and raised $2,643. Norton said another $1,065 was raised offline, bringing the total to $3,708.
If they surpass their fundraising goal but it’s not enough for another bulk order of scrubs, Norton said they will use the money to donate items like granola bars and energy bars to nourish the medical professionals.
“All funds collected will be used to help medical professionals during this crisis,” she said.
Karsif and Norton paid for the scrubs upfront, before raising money to defray the costs to ensure they had the supplies, because they anticipated shipping delays due to the high demand.
They bulk ordered black and blue sets of scrubs in sizes ranging from extra small to extra large through the online company AllHeart.com.
“These brave and amazing individuals are in need of black and blue scrubs, as they are using those colors to identify staff working directly with COVID-19 patients,” Norton wrote on the GoFundMe page.
She said PAs and nurse practitioners wear black and nurses wear blue.
Norton has a lot of friends who are PAs and nurse practitioners throughout the country, and two of them, who flew to New York from Minnesota and Michigan, are serving as point people to distribute the scrubs.
“Kara Montminy, who is from outside Minneapolis, is a PA,” Norton said of one of them. “She was a big inspiration for this. She actually did a whole stint, went home for five days, then went back to help.”
Norton is grateful to all who donated money to the cause and encourages others to help.
“This is a team effort,” she said. “It’s not just an individual fight. We’re all in this together. For anyone who is not able to help on the front lines, this is a way we can help support those who are.”