UF Doctor needs your help to stop protective face mask shortage

Published: Mar. 27, 2020 at 5:33 PM EDT
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A UF doctor tells tv20 he woke up in the overnight hours with an idea that may solve the world's protective face-mask shortage.

We found out, these new masks may also be more effective at keeping people safe.

It's no secret surgical tools are cleaned thoroughly before being re-used, but it's actually the material they are wrapped in, which is 99-percent effective in keeping out germs, bacteria, and viruses now in the spotlight.

Dr. Bruce Spiess, a Dr. of Anesthesiology at Uf Health came up with the idea and explained. "They come back from the sterilizer wrapped in an impervious material which then the scrub nurses or scrub techs unwrap and they throw out the material. Last Thursday night in the middle of the night at 2 am I woke up and said hey that impervious material might have the right properties to filter bacteria and microparticles."

Now, with the help of anyone who is willing to sew, Dr. Bruce Spiess says he will start using that protective material to make face-masks.

The masks are expected to be more effective than the currently used n-95 masks, something the doctor hopes others will catch on to. "I hope every hospital does what we are doing here in Gainesville which is to reach out to the community, and every hospital has a grassroots development of people who are going to sew and feed them back the masks they need for their first responders."

TV20's Landon Harrar reported, "in one day alone, UF Health Shands surgeons throw away around 600 to 1000 sheets of the material for masks like this one here. Now they're saving every little bit they can.

With these new masks, Dr. Bruce Spiess believes thousands of lives can be saved across the globe.

"We're going to do this and if every hospital in every state does it, within a week we should have solved the how do I get an n-95 mask problem from a grassroots option and that's huge.

And although making the masks matters more than a name right now, Dr. Bruce Spiess has a clever idea for that as well.

"we'd like to eventually have these called gator masks, I'd love to have a little gator on every one but we'll get there eventually right now I just want to save some lives."

Follow the provided link to get the information about how you can help produce these masks.