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Patients get a fashion makeover as a Miami designer unveils new hospital gowns

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
The Florida Channel
Miami fashion designer Rene Ruiz was looking to create a gown that could make the medical staff's life easier while also protecting the dignity of the patient.

Miami fashion designer René Ruiz joined Jackson Health to speak about his recent philanthropic endeavor: custom-made hospital gowns for patients recovering from transplant surgery.

Among the busy foot traffic around Alamo Park inside Jackson Memorial Hospital, Rene Ruiz was unveiling his newest design.

Ruiz, a Miami-based fashion designer who makes gowns for celebrities and public figures, took to the podium with two models. He was there to show the medical staff of Jackson Memorial his new gown for transplant patients.

The light blue colored cloth, etched with dark blue initials that spelled “JH” covered by a heart, is part of his latest design. Ruiz collaborated with Goodwill and Jackson Memorial to make his vision come true.

What was his vision? A gown that could make the medical staff's life easier, while also protecting the dignity of the patient.

The cloth is made from a thicker material, compared to the previous gown which was made of thin cotton.

“The gowns were designed to help improve the function of the patients' stay in the hospital as far as tubing, electrical monitoring, and things that they have to have on them. Instead of having them falling off or having to tote them in their hand, the gown has pockets which you can place them in,” said Lisa Byrd, nurse manager for West Wing 15 Abdominal Transplant Surgery at the hospital.

Ruiz came up with his idea to create a more efficient gown after an experience with an employee’s son who had a congenital heart defect.

“We cut his onesies and put snaps to make it easier for the doctors to get access through the lines, and ultimately a new idea arose for me,” Ruiz said.

For now, the gowns will only be distributed at Jackson Memorial Hospital, said Lourdes de la Mata-Little, Goodwill’s vice president of marketing and development.

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Elliot Rodriguez