TAMPA — Businessman and philanthropist Eddie DeBartolo Jr. and his wife Candy donated $2.65 million this week to Tampa General Hospital to help treat patients diagnosed with infectious diseases including COVID-19.
The money is part of a $7.65 million donation the DeBartolos have made to Tampa General over a five-month period, the hospital said in a news release Wednesday.
The donation will be used to develop a long-term, COVID-19 unit dedicated to diagnosing and treating hospital patients. The money will help pay for construction and equipment, including negative pressure isolation rooms and ventilators.
A timeline for opening has not been set.
Tampa General already has set up an isolation area in the Emergency Department for screening potential COVID-19 patients, as well as an outdoor triage area and two COVID-19 units with negative pressure isolation rooms.
“It is critical that, in times of need, our community members with the means to do so find ways to give back and support our first responders who are on the front lines of this battle," DeBartolo said in the news release. "I have been so encouraged by the outpouring of love from our community and wanted to do something to honor these health care heroes."
The DeBartolo family also donated $150,000 to the hospital’s Team Member Emergency Fund to help workers there who cannot afford to pay bills because they’re out of work.
Four employees at Tampa General have tested positive for COVID-19, the hospital confirmed March 25. Tampa General employs more than 8,000 people.
In December, the DeBartolo family donated $5 million in honor of Dr. Thomas Bernasek, an orthopedic surgeon on staff at Tampa General and a hospital board member.
“The legacy the family is leaving will be seen for many years to come, not just during this pandemic,” said Frann Richards with the Tampa General Hospital Foundation.
Tampa is the headquarters of DeBartolo interests including real estate development, sports management and restaurant franchising. With a net worth estimated at $2.9 billion, DeBartolo landed at No. 280 on the 2018 Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest people in the country.
The DeBartolo Family Foundation has given away more than $14 million, DeBartolo has said.
DeBartolo was one of seven people issued a pardon in February by President Donald Trump, 22 years after he was caught in the middle of an FBI probe of Louisiana’s gambling industry that centered around then-Gov. Edwin Edwards.
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