The 60-year-old designer was asked by Matthew Pinzur, chief marketing officer of the Jackson Health System, to consider creating the custom-made hospital gowns three years ago at a philanthropy event.
Ruiz told People: “I have always been philanthropic with Make-a-Wish Foundation, Multiple Sclerosis Society, etc, and given back to the community of Miami, but this was unusual, a real chance to make a difference in a patient’s life.”
The designer, whose atelier is located in North Miami, interviewed doctors, nurses and transplant patients at Jackson Memorial to find out how he could createa more comfortable, functional hospital gown for these specific patients.
He received suggestions to add “snaps and slits in appropriate locations” that would give medical professionals easier access to check on surgical incisions and equipment, he told the magazine.
The end result is a light blue hospital gown made from a cotton poplin blend with royal blue trims, featuring inside pockets and “special buttons for the lines to go in and out”.
“Not only is it going to make the patient’s life while recovering easier, but also for the nurses and medical staff members who work on the transplant patients,” he told People.
Ruiz recruited the help of non-profit Goodwill South Florida to manufacture the gowns, having worked with the organisation on a fashion show previously.
The designer delivered 4,260 gowns to the hospital in June and launched his “Legacy by Rene” line with one style of hospital gown. He plans to create a general patient hospital gown for Jackson Memorial Hospital as part of the line.
Designing gowns for patients has been “more rewarding than my other work”, said Ruiz, adding: “The look on the patient’s faces means everything. I am so happy to have helped make their lives easier after the surgery. The whole project has been amazing and so worth it.”
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