Cleveland, OH,
03:32 AM

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, Cuyahoga County’s public health system, is honoring its commitment to create a healthier community by building a new hospital on its main campus in Cleveland. The building and the 25 acres of green space around it are catalyzing the revitalization of MetroHealth’s West Side neighborhood.

MetroHealth broke ground on its new hospital in 2019. The project is being financed with nearly $1 billion the system borrowed on its own credit after dramatically improving its finances. In the past five years, MetroHealth’s operating revenue has increased by 40% and its number of employees by 21%. Today, its staff of 8,000 provides care at MetroHealth’s four hospitals, four emergency departments and more than 20 health centers and 40 additional sites throughout Cuyahoga County. In the past year, MetroHealth has served 300,000 patients at more than 1.4 million visits in its hospitals and health centers, 75% of whom are uninsured or covered by Medicare or Medicaid.

The health system 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 teaching and research. Each active staff physician holds a faculty appointment at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. Its main campus hospital houses a Cleveland Metropolitan School District high school of science and health.

For more information, visit