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South Bay nurse looks to restore patient dignity with Community Closet

Nurse gives clothes to patients before they leave
Posted at 6:48 PM, Apr 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-14 21:49:05-04

CHULA VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) - A Sharp Chula Vista nurse is trying to send her patients home with some dignity after their visit to the ER.

No one is ever prepared for a trip to the emergency room. It’s traumatic and sometimes embarrassing because they have no clothes to wear home. Those patients are sometimes left to scramble for clothing and are even sent home in a hospital gown.

“Patients arrive to the emergency room in all sorts of situations,” said nurse Deb Duncan. “Maybe they come in and their clothing is soiled with body fluids.  Maybe they’ve had an accident and they either have blood on their clothes or their clothes were cut off of them.”

That’s why Duncan created the Community Closet at the Chula Vista area hospital. It’s a cabinet in the ER full of new clothing for patients to wear home.

“I felt that was really not the just right thing to do,” she said.

Duncan started by soliciting unused, new t-shirts from charity races. Then she applied for a grant to purchase new clothes.

“They’ve had a bad event,” she said. “You’ve had to go to the emergency room but at least you get to go home with a little dignity.”

She said hundreds of patients have taken advantage of it already. Duncan said she wants to expand the program to include shoes.

“How does it make me feel? Oh, it’s awesome.”

Sharp Chula Vista said anyone wishing to donate new, unused clothing or money for the Community Closet can call 1-800-82-SHARP.