Thrive by IU Health

April 06, 2021

A true giver at heart

IU Health Bloomington Hospital

A true giver at heart
Patricia Lewis

Saving lives—that’s the main concern for the IU Health Bloomington Hospital Emergency Medicine team. But the team is also full of people who are determined to support patients beyond their typical healthcare duties.

Patricia Lewis, RN, (pictured to the left) is one such individual who has made her mark through compassion.

“We have always had a little closet in the ED with some donated clothes for when our patients don’t have anything to wear at discharge (either their clothes were cut off, soiled, wet, etc.),” she said. “But it never had a lot of clothing, and many people on our team weren’t even aware it existed.”

The small cabinet was in an out-of-the-way corner, and not everyone even knew about it, but that all changed a couple of years ago when Patricia started asking for donations from team members to fill the cabinet.

“We ended up getting more items, including shoes which was great as some of our less fortunate patients have come in with either no shoes or ones that are worn through,” she said. “I may have been someone who started bringing more attention to our clothing closet, but I cannot take credit for how successful it has become.”

From that small cabinet, the clothing donation grew until they filled three closets. Pictured above are the closets along with some team members who organized them.

“I’m so impressed by how our team has come together to make this take-off,” said Patricia.

But Patricia’s giving heart showed even before the clothing donation drive:

“As far as our cold-weather accessories, I have been putting those out in the ED for the past four years. We had a lot of patients who were discharged from our department, and they didn’t have items to keep them warm in the winter. I hate seeing people without gloves when it’s freezing out, and I’ve kept spare gloves in my car for years to give to the less fortunate, so I decided one day that I could do the same thing in the ED.”

Her team donates hats, gloves, scarves, and other winter accessories to the cold-weather cause–but for the first two years, it was pretty much just her buying hats and gloves for adults and patients. She made the scarves herself to save money.

And her generosity isn’t limited to making sure patients are clothed when they leave her care.

“I have always kept little toys, sticker books, etc., in my locker. After holidays, I’ll buy little stuffed animals that go on sale to have for our pediatric patients as a comfort item, and I have even seen some toys in the closet,” Patricia said. “Thanks to Doc McStuffins, a lot of the younger children will help take care of their ‘patient,' and they become less afraid of being patients, themselves!”

Patricia is a true example of the IU Health Value of compassion, and IU Health Bloomington Hospital is lucky to have her on the team.

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