Cleveland, OH,
21:32 PM

A Simple Solution: MetroHealth Pharmacy Makes Hand Sanitizer

We’ve all heard the warnings by now: the COVID-19 surge is coming.

But there’s comfort, too, in knowing that health care workers are doing everything they can to hold it back.

They’re America’s human surge protectors.

And MetroHealth Pharmacist Mike Gutridge is one of them.

In just 20 minutes last Friday, the Doctor of Pharmacy whipped up four gallons of homemade hand sanitizer in between making sure the pharmacy that serves patients in MetroHealth’s main hospital is properly staffed, meets quality standards and has all it needs.

“Hand sanitizer will soon be in short supply,” says Gutridge, Associate Director of MetroHealth’s Inpatient Pharmacy. “And this is a safe and effective alternative to commercially prepared hand sanitizer.”

The safety and effectiveness have the approval of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which provided the simple, four-ingredient recipe for Gutridge’s simple solution.

Once it was mixed, Gutridge needed spray bottles, too.

So a co-worker ran to Home Depot to buy as many as she could. When Home Depot heard MetroHealth needed them, the home improvement store donated all 12 spray bottles left in stock.

Gutridge makes clear that sanitizer isn’t the first thing we should reach for to keep our hands clean.

“The No. 1 thing you can use, if available, is warm water and soap,” he says.

“One of the more important things I’ve seen recently is to list off the people you’re grateful for when you’re washing your hands for 20 seconds.”

That’s what Gutridge does now – thanking his co-workers, the doctors and nurses on the front lines, the employees who wipe down doorknobs and all the other surfaces we’re touching -- and now the workers at Home Depot.

“We certainly need nurses and providers and medical trainees and pharmacists and technicians,” he says, “But it’s the entire community that’s going to allow us to get through this.

“We’re going to get through this together, apart. But we’re going to get through it together.”

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About The MetroHealth System

The MetroHealth System is redefining health care by going beyond medical treatment to improve the foundations of community health and well-being: affordable housing, a cleaner environment, economic opportunity and access to fresh food, convenient transportation, legal help and other services. The system strives to become as good at preventing disease as it is at treating it.

The system’s more than 600 doctors, 1,700 nurses and 7,800 employees go to work each day with a mission of service, to their patients and to the community. As Cuyahoga County’s safety-net health system, MetroHealth plays an essential role in the region, caring for anyone and everyone, regardless of an ability to pay.

Founded in 1837, MetroHealth operates four hospitals, four emergency departments and more than 20 health centers and 40 additional sites throughout Cuyahoga County. The system serves more than 300,000 patients, two-thirds of whom are uninsured or covered by Medicare or Medicaid.

MetroHealth is home to Cuyahoga County’s most experienced Level I Adult Trauma Center, verified since 1992, and Ohio’s only adult and pediatric trauma and burn center.

As an academic medical center, MetroHealth is committed to research and to teaching and training tomorrow’s caregivers. Each active staff physician holds a faculty appointment at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. Its main campus hospital houses the Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s Lincoln-West School of Science & Health, the only high school in America located inside a hospital.

Knowing that good health is about much more than good medical care, MetroHealth has launched the Institute for H.O.P.E.™ (Health, Opportunity, Partnership, Empowerment), which uses a coordinated, collaborative and strategic approach to help patients with non-medical needs such as healthy food, stable housing and job training.

The MetroHealth Glick Center, a new 11-floor hospital, is under construction on the system’s main campus in Cleveland and is scheduled to welcome its first patients in October 2022. The billion-dollar project is the cornerstone of a wider neighborhood revitalization effort led by the system and its partners in the community.

For more information, visit