David S. Fieno, Ph.D., M.D.
Surgical Cardiologist, Entrepreneur, Professional Engineer
COVID-19 has caused devastation around the world and in our communities. We have suffered through the financial burden, uncertainty, and risk of severe illness and even death due to the rapid spread of this virus.
About three weeks ago, I noticed that many of the frontline healthcare workers in my cardiology practice did not have protective masks. After some discussion and research into this dilemma, I found the lack of protective masks and equipment plagued multiple practices. No masks available in facilities, no equipment scheduled to be delivered, and frontline workers left feeling there was no access to protection beyond a cloth or paper decoy. this was the situation – N95 masks have been nowhere to be found throughout the country.
The lack of N95 masks throughout the country has left people feeling hopeless. However, the Free N99 Mask Initiative has been created to bring hope to both frontline workers and the population as we battle COVID-19 together.
With the help of 30+ volunteers working with a home-grown, not for profit organization – Free N99 Mask Initiative – protective N99 masks started being custom-made and hand-delivered to practices throughout the United States – for free!
This distribution of no-cost personal protective equipment (PPE) by myself came from feeling I had to do something about this devastating crisis. After preliminary work with cloth patterns, I was able to coordinate a team of sewers, distributors, and craftsmen. I then connected the team with large swaths of N99 autoclave material – which is more protective than N95.
The N99 material is robust, sturdy, and can be sterilized for multiple uses. Yes, the masks can be reused, thanks to the choice of N99 autoclave fabric. N99 autoclave fabric.
With some ingenuity, hard work, and many stitches, the volunteer team has now woven and personally distributed more than 2,000 surgical-grade N99 contoured masks for the frontline men and women working to take care of society.
Surgical centers, universities, physical therapists, firemen, doctors, specialists, and community members can request these masks to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Due to the accessibility of requests, the project is expanding every day.
Each one of us can contribute to slowing the spread of COVID-19 and flattening the curve. Protecting our healthcare workers is an important step towards ultimate recovery from COVID-19 and restoration of normalcy in all our communities.
Please consider stepping up to volunteer by requesting masks or donating to the cause. For more details, visit DavidFieno.com or our Facebook page, Inside the Medicine.
A special thank you to MyHeart.net for their support of the Free N99 Mask Initiative. Pictures of masks tell much of the story.
In the first episode of MyHeart.net’s podcast, three cardiologists discuss face masks in the healthcare field in the face of a pandemic. Dr. Alain Bouchard and Dr. Mustafa Ahmed are joined by Dr. David Fieno to discuss the effectiveness of face masks during the coronavirus pandemic, as well as Dr. Fieno’s initiative to provide free N99 masks to medical workers on the frontlines. Listen now on Buzzsprout or on the player below.
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