by Kate Alfano, CMS Communications Coordinator
Featured in the May-June 2020 Colorado Medicine Colorado Medicine.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, Dianna Fetter, Colorado Medical Society senior director of professional services, was an avid quilter. So when Colorado physicians saw their stores of personal protective equipment running critically low and the FDA approved cloth masks for clinical use, she fired up her sewing machine and started making cloth masks. She even recruited her husband, Rob, a newly retired engineer, to join the effort. “He never imagined his first weeks of retirement would be spent making hundreds of masks and losing his fingerprints in the process,” Fetter said.
She coordinated the sewing and distribution with others in the sewing community including a brand-new acquaintance, Gwen Steele, whom she met in a fabric store; a private, anonymous donor; local sewing group The Thimble Army; and the work of herself and her husband. They donated nearly 1,000 masks to local physicians’ offices for their personal use and to give to their patients during visits, plus many more to nonprofits, friends and neighbors. Four recipients are Mile High OBGYN, Green Mountain Partners for Health, Western Orthopaedics and The Denver Rescue Mission.
“I want to thank Dianna Fetter, the Colorado mask project and the Colorado Medical Society for helping my office get 50 cloth masks,” said Carolynn Francavilla, MD, a family physician with Green Mountain Partners for Health. “We have a shortage of surgical masks in our clinic and this will help ensure our patients have masks to wear during encounters and our staff has protection should we run out of surgical masks. I am so grateful to have one less thing on my plate right now – thank you for stepping up to help my clinic.”
Fetter has also arranged for food delivery. One delivery, donated by Qdoba in Lone Tree, went to SkyRidge Hospital. Another delivery, donated by Chick-fil-A - Alameda Avenue in Aurora, went to the emergency department staff at the Medical Center of Aurora.
“It turned out to be a welcome surprise for our nurses and technicians as it was a very busy and stressful night,” said Rachelle Klammer, MD, an emergency room physician at Medical Center of Aurora. “Everyone from the housekeepers to the pharmacists got to enjoy a moment of relaxation, and they are so thankful for everything that CMS and the community are doing to thank first responders and health care professionals.”