PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Nationwide, hospitals are facing a shortage of reusable fabric isolation gowns. That's why Dignity Health here in Arizona is working to design some of its own for health care workers.

The Arizona National Guard flew 40,000 yards of surgical cloth material from North Carolina that will be made into protective gowns for medical workers. (The material weighed 7,000 pounds!) The material is being distributed to two local manufacturing facilities. Once they are made, the gowns will be sent to Dignity Health and Honor Health hospitals.

The materials came from Precision Fabrics Group, which provides protective fabrics for industries like healthcare. 

The gowns will be designed by Dr. Ronald Gagliano, who is a surgeon at Dignity Health. The gowns will be highly durable, and will be able to last through more than 100 washes. They will also be able to provide the right protection for healthcare workers, offering greater protection than that offered by disposable gowns.

"Wearing material like this will help people of all ranges; from trauma, birth, to drawing blood to doing a colonoscopy, giving people who need it, the confidence that they are going to be protected," said Dr. Gagliano. "When we have the personal protective equipment we need, it allows our healthcare providers to continue to do God’s work and care for others."

Dr. Gagliano is also an army veteran who was inspired by the gowns that were used in the military.  “I’m incredibly proud of the way organizations from coast to coast are coming together to meet the needs of health care workers providing critical care to those in need,” said Dr. Gagliano. “This project is a game changer and a long term, sustainable business model for all of the health care industry.”

The gowns are currently being made at F.A.B.R.I.C., a non-profit organization in Tempe that provides resources for new and emerging fashion designers. They are expecting to create at least 8,500 FDA approved isolation gowns for Dignity Health employees. 

 

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