Hollywood helps during pandemic– Tom Hanks’ blood & hospital dramas providing equipment for healthcare heroes

 Hollywood has always offered a helping hand during a crisis. And now Hollywood’s finest are rallying to raise money, provide lifesaving equipment, and even offering blood during the catastrophic coronavirus pandemic.

Rita Wilson & Tom Hanks on Instagram

 Tom Hanks is donating his blood to help others since he and his wife Rita Wilson have recovered from COVID-19. Hanks developed “convalescent plasma” that is being used as a therapy for those stricken with the virus. The Oscar winner announced on social media that he and Rita donated blood plasma at UCLA Medical in an effort to help fight the coronavirus.

On Instagram, Hanks (@tomhanks) has posted photos and statements about his experience. “Here’s last week’s bag of plasma. Such a bag! After the paperwork, it’s as easy as taking a nap. Thanks @arimoin and UCLA. Hanx.” Hanks was thanking “Virus Hunter” Dr. Anne Rimoin, also known as an Infectious Disease Epidemiologist who is working on what Tom called a “Hank-ccine.”

Rock stars are helping out too. Queen and Adam Lambert have just released an inspiring recording “You Are the Champions” to honor COVID-19 frontline workers. And Lady Gaga has already curated the One World: Together At Home TV special, a Live Aid-style event from Global Citizen and the World Health Organization to support the U.N. Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund.

 Although TV series have shut down filming during the coronavirus lockdown, hospital dramas have provided real lifesaving equipment from their productions for healthcare heroes. Among them are Grey’s Anatomy, Station 19, Chicago Med, Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D., New Amsterdam, The Good Doctor, and The Resident. These acclaimed dramas portray the medical professionals and first responders on their best and worst days, but no script could do justice to the heroic efforts of our real healthcare warriors currently on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic.

Greys Anatomy’s Ellen Pompeo

 There is a deep appreciation for the real life lifesavers from those who say “I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV.” Grey’s Anatomy star Ellen Pompeo posted a video recognizing the healthcare heroes. “Many of us have the privilege to self-quarantine and isolate and try to stay healthy. And none of you have that privilege. You all have to be on the frontlines of this this thing. So this is just from me and my family, to all of you to thank you. Nurses rock! Doctors rock! And anyone who works in a hospital or the healthcare industry–you rock! We love you. Stay safe,” Pompeo said while blowing a heartfelt kiss.

 TV shows and stars aren’t just offering words of support, the productions have also contributed desperately needed medical supplies. The wardrobe and prop departments of many hospital shows have authentic medical gear they use to make their scenes look like the real deal. Now their “props” are being donated to help providers during this crisis, made worst by a shortage of medical supplies. Surgical masks, latex gloves, surgical gowns, medical caps, face shields, disposable booties, and disposable isolation suits are being donated so that providers can remain safe.

 ABC reported that their ShondaLand productions, Grey’s Anatomy (now in its 16th season) and Station 19, gave a truck load of their resources to the University of Southern California hospitals. And N95 masks went to several fire stations around LA to help protect the firefighters.

 The Chicago-based NBC shows Chicago Med, Chicago Fire, and Chicago P.D. donated their supplies to the Illinois Department of Public Health so they can distribute them to the various hospitals where they are needed most. Dr. Andrew Dennis, a Chicago trauma surgeon who serves as a consultant on the show, helped coordinate the effort.

 NBC’s New Amsterdam, which films at New York’s Bellevue Hospital and Kings County Hospital, has also donated supplies to the New York State Department of Health “to be utilized on the basis of highest need in connection with relief efforts in New York, to help the community in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis,” according to a statement from the network.

The Resident’s Shaunette Renee Wilson & Malcolm-Jamal Warner

 The riveting Fox hospital drama The Resident films in Atlanta and has helped the city’s Grady Memorial Hospital, the largest hospital in Georgia. CNN reported the donation was organized by Dr. Roshan Sethi, the Harvard-trained radiation oncologist who co-created of the series.

 The Good Doctor the ABC medical drama filmed in Vancouver, has also made donations of vitally needed items to Vancouver Coastal Health to help save lives out in the real world.

  It is heartening to know that the entertainment industry and other good folks have responded to help the health care system and those affected by the coronavirus crisis. Bless them all.

Margie Barron has written for a wide variety of outlets including Gannett newspapers, Nickelodeon, Tiger Beat and 16 Magazine, Fresh!, Senior Life, Production Update, airline magazines, etc. Margie is also proud to have been half of the husband & wife writing team Frank & Margie Barron, who had written together for various entertainment and travel publications for more than 38 years.