Cayuga Health Team Turns Surgical Wrap 'Waste' Into Blankets for the Needy and Contributes to Eco-Friendly Operating Room
Works with sewing volunteers at Quilters Corner in Ithaca to produce.
December 9, 2019, Ithaca, New York –– Cayuga Health is proud to announce that a team of employees from the Neurodiagnostics Department at Cayuga Medical Center came up with the idea to turn surgical wrappings, that are normally disposed of as medical waste, into warm blankets for area residents in need.
"A hospital in Florida was utilizing surgical equipment covers to make sleeping bags for the homeless. So we got a team together and came up with the blanket idea to distribute to the needy in the community," states Deanna Jacobs, R.EEGT.,Supervisor of Neurodiagnostics Department at CMC. "The project idea was internally met with overwhelming approval and excitement."
The surgical wraps are 4-by-4-foot sheets used to heat sterilize surgical instruments. They are durable, waterproof and retain heat. But once they’re removed in the operating room, they are discarded. "We collect a large bag of material just about every day, providing us with an endless supply of blanket material," adds Jacobs. "As for safety, they are sterile wraps, they don't come in contact with patients, and all appropriate precautions are taken."
Jacobs and team developed 2 initial prototypes and took them to Quilters Corner in Ithaca and a group of their charity sewers - who look for community projects to partner in - have created 12 blankets to date. They use twelve 44" x 44" squares to make one blanket and it takes about two hours to create one. The blankets are large and heavy, and can be used as sleeping bags as well.
"We just received our official 'stamp' to label the blankets," adds Jacobs. "It says Recycle the Warmth...Cayuga Cares. We are so excited to begin distributing them!"
Jacobs and team have identified many uses for the blankets. They will be carried in the Ithaca Police Department squad cars, available at the Tompkins County Shelter and the St. John’s Rescue Mission with other ideas in the works. As the need grows, the team would appreciate help from other sewing organizations and volunteers.
"I am incredibly proud of this effort and this team," states Dr. Martin Stallone, Chief Executive Officer of Cayuga Medical Center and Cayuga Health. "Not only are they putting to good use what otherwise would go to waste, and making the day a little better for a person who is in need, but they are making our Operating Room as eco-friendly as possible. That is a win for all!
About Cayuga Health
Cayuga Health (CH) has two hospitals, Cayuga Medical Center and Schuyler Hospital, as well as a multi-specialty group, Cayuga Medical Associates. Combined employment, including affiliated organizations, is over 2,200 employees. CHS is clinically linked to Mayo Medical Laboratories, Rochester Regional Health for cardiac services, Roswell Park for cancer services, and the University of Rochester for neurosciences. It has also teamed up with Family Health Network of Central New York to enhance care in the region.
About Cayuga Medical Center
Cayuga Medical Center [CMC] is a not-for-profit, acute-care medical center bringing state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment services to the residents of Tompkins, Cortland, Seneca, and Tioga counties. CMC houses over 200 beds and employs 1,200 health-care professionals and has a medical staff of 200 affiliated physicians.