‘Compassion Closet’ helping UAB patients leave hospital with dignity

Published: Feb. 14, 2023 at 2:24 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - If someone is in an accident and their clothes have to be cut off or taken in for evidence at the hospital, and no one is able to bring them new clothes, they are discharged in paper scrubs.

This happened to first-year UAB med student, Nick Hakes, who said he left nearly naked, cold and ashamed after being in a traumatic accident.

He knew there had to be another way, so he created the Compassion Closet.

“When we say get well soon and wave goodbye to our patients, but don’t provide them with the resources needed to get well soon, we are failing our patients. We’re providing them with new weather-appropriate clothing so that they can leave the hospital and get back on their feet,” said Hakes.

Across campus, donation bins for the Compassion Closet are now accepting donations for brand new shirts, pants, jackets, socks - you name it, they probably need it.

Then when patients are discharged, they are given an outfit from the closet. The program launched two weeks ago, and so far 50 patients have benefited from the closet.

“Patients are tremendously grateful. After going through such a traumatic experience, the last thing they want to have to think about is, ‘what am I going to wear out of the hospital?’ So by providing some clothing, we’re providing them with some resemblance of normalcy.”

Donation bins can be found on UAB’s campus at:

  • Volunteer Services: Spain Wallace, Floor 1
  • UAB Hospital information desk: North Pavilion, Floor 2, across from Starbucks
  • Medical Student Services: Volker Hall, Floor 1, Suite 102

More information about the Compassion Closet can be found here.

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