Canadian medical drama TV shows rally to help real-life hospital staff

Producers of Coroner, Transplant and Nurses are donating masks, gloves and gowns to frontline hospital staff treating COVID-19 patients

The Coroner team is trying to save lives. The producers behind the CBC show starring Serinda Swan are among Canadian television industry figures stepping up to supply frontline medical staff with protective gear and more during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Doctors and nurses are lacking enough N95 masks, protective gowns, gloves and eyewear needed to safely treat patients with COVID-19.

“We have real masks and medical equipment,” Adrienne Mitchell, Coroner’s lead director and executive producer, tells NOW. Producers got the idea to donate their supplies from Coroner writer and executive producer Sean Reycraft.

“We had contacted our awesome prop master Victoria Klein and said let’s see what we have. The hospitals are in dire need, so let’s get them going,” Mitchell adds.

“Everyone is feeling incredibly grateful to doctors, nurses, paramedics, all hospital workers and anybody in the medical profession,” adds Coroner creator and showrunner Morwyn Brebner. “Its really an amazing thing for us to have anything practical to offer.”

Coroner joins shows like Transplant and Nurses that are contributing supplies in the fight against COVID-19. As of Tuesday afternoon, union members from the IATSE Local 873 had collected 1,480 N95 masks, more than 10,000 latex gloves, 60 protective sleeves and 80 N95 respirator filters. And they’re still collecting.

Those supplies are being delivered to the PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) drive at Michael Garon Hospital in East York, which is accepting donations from the public until Friday. The Coroner team brought their supplies to Mount Sinai, which is redistributing the gear among other hospitals.

Meanwhile, according to the city of Toronto, Starline Production Rentals is offering trailers that hospitals can use as private, quarantine or break rooms. Another production equipment rental company, William F. White, is making its generators, tents and heaters available to the health care system.

The television industry is the latest sector to mobilize in the effort to contain COVID-19. In the past couple weeks, local gin distilleries shifted their production lines to make hand sanitizer and disinfectants for police, frontline healthcare workers and the TTC among others.

Toronto has declared a state of emergency, with 280 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of March 24.


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