Advertisement

Coronavirus: Montreal bow company making masks to protect patients at Lakeshore hospital

Staff at the Lakeshore General Hospital's radiology department sporting fabric face masks hand-made by Sophia Johnson. Thursday April 2, 2020. Courtesy of Sophia Johnson

What do a team of radiology doctors and a bow company have in common?

It turns out, the wellbeing of patients at the Lakeshore General Hospital in Montreal’s West Island.

West Island resident Sophia Johnson is the owner of a handmade bow shop, B&B Bowtique.

Johnson makes bows out of her home in Dorion in her spare time, but with COVID-19 on everyone’s mind, “obviously bows are not a hot commodity right now,” Johnson told Global News.

READ MORE: Police officers in Montreal, Terrebonne pay tribute to hospital workers

So she changed gears and started sewing face masks with the fabric she had purchased for her bow business instead.

“A lot of doctors believe it’s better than nothing, so I started making them for my friends,” she said.

Story continues below advertisement

Her friends are police officers working across the city, but they are also her colleagues.

Johnson is not only a talented tailor but a police officer, currently on maternity leave from station 3 in Pierrefonds.

After seeing her work online, a group of five doctors working in the radiology department at the hospital and called Johnson to order 120 masks.

READ MORE: McGill University students helping frontline health care workers in Montreal

“The reason for that is not to protect ourselves,” said Dr. Khashayar Rafat Zand, the site chief at the department of radiology at Lakeshore General Hospital. “We still do ultrasounds on a lot of pregnant women and if one of our technologists were to be a virus carrier, we didn’t want to become a source of infection.”

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus outbreak: Trudeau asked if he’s working with Trump on ‘North American’ PPE strategy' Coronavirus outbreak: Trudeau asked if he’s working with Trump on ‘North American’ PPE strategy
Coronavirus outbreak: Trudeau asked if he’s working with Trump on ‘North American’ PPE strategy – Mar 31, 2020

Rafat Zand wants to emphasize the purchase was not made out of lack of protective material in the hospital, but out of solidarity with colleagues dealing directly with infected patients.

Story continues below advertisement

Johnson says she worked 16 hours a day for three days straight to fulfill the order.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Sainte-Justine hospital staff produce visors to protect front-line workers

“I sent them the most vibrant colours I had. I said: ‘let’s send a little light to this darkness,'” Johnson told Global News.

Johnson and a group of her friends got together to donate a few dozen extra masks.

“I delivered both my babies there. I was closely followed by them when I was pregnant. It was meant to be. I have a huge place for them in my heart,” Johnson said.

14
Sophia Johnson put her hand-made bow business aside and is now making fabric face masks at home. Thursday April 2, 2020. Courtesy of: Sophia Johnson
24
Staff at the Lakeshore General Hospital's radiology department sporting fabric face masks hand-made by Sophia Johnson. Thursday April 2, 2020. Courtesy of Sophia Johnson
34
Courtesy of Sophia Johnson
44
Staff at the Lakeshore General Hospital's radiology department sporting fabric face masks hand-made by Sophia Johnson. Thursday April 2, 2020. Courtesy of Sophia Johnson
Story continues below advertisement

But while the hospital’s staff thanked her, Johnson said she also received hate messages online.

READ MORE: Coronavirus — 5 uplifting things happening in Quebec amid the pandemic

People, she says, criticized the fact that she donated her time but doctors paid for the materials.

Speaking on behalf of the doctors, Rafat Zand says the money wasn’t a problem. “If you have time to criticize, spend it making a mask. We have no problem paying for masks, especially during these times when the economy is so fragile, she doesn’t have to pay out of pocket, ” Dr. Rafat Zand argued.

“This epidemic has brought the best and worst of people. I think Sophia is one of the best of us.”

Click to play video: 'Businesses help with shortage of medical supplies' Businesses help with shortage of medical supplies
Businesses help with shortage of medical supplies – Mar 27, 2020

As for Johnson, she says she will continue making masks for as long as the lockdown lasts, while also juggling her mother-of-two duties, no matter the criticism.

Story continues below advertisement

“I really want to feel like I’m doing something useful,” she said.

Sponsored content