Cville Doctor Designs a Better Face Mask

Apr 3, 2020

State officials are still pleading for supplies to help fight the new coronavirus, and a Charlottesville doctor is doing her part.  Her actions could help medical professionals nationwide.

A staffer at OESH Shoes wears the mask designed by founder Casey Kerrigan, MD. It's made of a soft, flexible plastic that can be washed, re-used or recycled.
Credit OESH Shoes

Dr. Ralph Northam has joined a chorus of governors in asking for personal protective equipment – PPE – for the state’s healthcare workers.  He says more than 200 disposable masks and gowns could be needed to care for a single patient on a single day.

“An ICU patient who is in isolation, so many individuals have to care for that patient, and we just literally burn through PPE – maybe 240 sets of PPE per patient.”

The news worried Dr. Casey Kerrigan, a physician who started a company making shoes that look good and are good for your feet using 3-D printers.  Today, she has a dozen of those machines making medical masks she designed.

"We think we could do like 50 a day realistically right now," Kerrigan says.

Her mask may actually be better than what’s already on the market.

"It has a tight fit around the face. That’s a key component of a good face mask, and then you just put removable filter material in the face mask itself."

The mask can be washed and reused or recycled. So what is Kerrigan charging for this product?

"We’re not selling these at all," Kerrigan explains. "We are donating these. This is just to help out in a pinch."

And she’s put the design on her company’s website so anyone with a 3-D printer anywhere in the world can make protective medical masks.  

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