PPE donations for Gila County Jail employees

Courtesy photo Officers Palmer, Flores, Huggins, nurses M. Vega and L. Foeher, and a mental health provider H. Reichert at the Gila County Jail wearing masks donated by generous dentists.

Dear editor:

My husband, Dr. Michael Hayes, is the Medical Director at the Gila County Jail Medical Clinic. Their standing order for PPE (personal protection equipment) has not been filled in several weeks. Discouraged by the potentially hazardous situation due to the increased need to wear PPE amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, I contacted multiple dental practices requesting donations of masks. Per the governor’s directive, dentists are currently only open for emergencies. Mountain View Dentisty and Diamond Dental of Globe, and Heatherwood Dental of Glendale and Sun City West Dental graciously donated masks and some gowns for use by the staff of the Gila County Jail as well as the emergency department of Summit Regional Hospital in Springerville, Az., where Dr. Hayes is covering shifts for a physician called in for his Naval Reserve Duty due to the Coronavirus.

The donations of masks to the Gila County Jail Clinic were shared with additional jail employees awaiting PPE from the county. A call from the Gila County health department on April 15th was the first call received since the onset of the pandemic checking in on the status of PPE in the jail clinic. When the clinic staff was asked, “What do you need?”, the nurse’s response was, “everything”. The county is subject to the PPE shortage being felt statewide.

As the wife of Dr. Hayes, I am sincerely grateful for the selflessness of these dentists and their staffs to donate precious PPE during this pandemic. It is this type of rapid, generous response from local business owners and some in the valley which has made it possible for the valued co-workers of my husband to be responsibly protected while serving to protect others. Our four children and I also thank these dental practices for increasing the safety of one very special Dr. Michael Hayes.

Thank you for celebrating these PPE donations with me,

Rene Hayes