What initially appeared to be a mistake might actually have been a happy accident, as an order of personal protective equipment, initially intended to be used by Niagara University nursing students, is now being donated to the places that need them most —area hospitals and nursing homes.

Margarita Coyne, interim dean of Niagara University’s School of Nursing, spearheaded the effort, with the help of Dr. Maria Frosini Gadawski, a faculty member in the school, and Dr. Mary McCourt, a professor of chemistry whose daughter works at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.

“Last summer, we received a double order of the surgical gloves, gowns, and masks we use to teach students,” Coyne said. She planned to keep the inventory to use in courses during the upcoming academic year, but when she heard that medical professionals were in dire need of this equipment because of the coronavirus pandemic, she contacted Dr. Tim Ireland, Niagara University provost, and Dr. Debra Colley, Niagara’s executive vice president, for their approval to make the donation.

Thanks to their coordinated efforts, 22,000 pairs gloves, 500 masks, and 100 gowns are on their way to Roswell Park, as well as to Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center and Our Lady of Peace/Ascensiongroup.

Niagara University Health Services also donated two cases of N95 masks to the Niagara County Health Department, and a 20-count box of N95 masks, one box of XL gloves, and 20 .5-ounce hand sanitizers to the New York State Police Department.

Adrienne Kasbaum, director of Student Health and Wellness, noted that one of the department's nurses, who is married to a trooper, alerted her to the fact that they were sharing one mask per patrol car.

"Now, they can each be assigned their own mask to keep with them," Kasbaum said.  

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