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Effort underway to see that hospital patients leave with clothes on their backs


Hospital patients often leave the healthcare system after their clothes are cut away. A new effort works to make sure these people are wearing something when they head home. A group of medical students is leading the way in providing better hospital care. Many patients find themselves discharged from the hospital with improper clothing after receiving care. This happens to trauma patients when first responders or physicians cut off garments to quickly examine injuries. The Compassion Closet aims to solve the problem by providing apparel for patients in need. Nick Hakes is a first-year medical student at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He came up with the idea to start the Compassion Closet. Hakes says the idea came from his own patient experiences as well as seeing other patients not have proper clothing.

“When we say ‘get well soon’ to patients that we are discharging from the emergency department, yet don’t provide the basic resources needed to do so, we’re not being a good neighbor,” said Hakes. “And this is a way for us to give back to the patients who often serve us and be a good neighbor.”

The Compassion Closet will be run out of UAB’s Emergency Department. The closet will feature new clothing and shoes provided by community donations. Hakes says the program provides resources to give patients care and compassion during vulnerable moments.

“The Compassion Closet is a solution to discharging patients in thin paper scrubs and hospital socks. The Compassion Closet provides new, weather appropriate clothing so that every patient is discharged with dignity,” he said.

For other stories by APR intern Alex Pfeneger, click below…

Alex Pfenenger is a student intern in the Alabama Public Radio newsroom. He is a senior at the University of Alabama studying Creative Media. He has a passion for creating audio content, which lead him to podcasting and radio work. In his free time, Alex enjoys watching sports, listening to music, and serving at the local church.
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