It all started with a Nextdoor post.

I had joined a local physician COVID Facebook group and was disturbed to find that many of my local primary care physicians were seeing PUIs without proper PPE. I asked my neighbors if they had any N95 masks they were willing to donate. The next day, one woman alone donated 80 N95 masks she had left over from a renovation project a few years ago. I began traveling the neighborhood, picking up N95 masks off neighbors porches.

Image of an isolate from the first U.S. case of COVID-19

I expected that to be it, but it kept growing. I couldn’t keep up with the porch pickups. The donations kept coming in and I needed a location where they could be donated. I reached out to the Travis County Medical Society for help leading to the appointment as the lead of the TCMS PPE Task Force.

As word of the TCMS PPE campaign spread, the donations just kept coming in. In the first few weeks, we accepted over 1,200 N95 masks amongst other forms of PPE of gloves, gowns, face shields and goggles. To date, TCMS has distributed over 90,000 pieces of PPE.

Typically, I am a general surgeon who specializes in hernia repair at Austin Hernia Center. But the ban on elective surgeries left me with some free time. I began researching and immersing myself in all forms of respiratory protection and searching for alternatives.

My purpose in establishing Physician Self Defense is to support my fellow physicians and equip them to adequately protect themselves in the face of this pandemic.

Mark Glover, MD

The goals of Physician Self Defense are to:

  • Help arm physicians with adequate PPE
  • Research and provide physicians with alternatives to traditional disposable forms of PPE
  • Validate mask filtration and provide a public database by manufacturer, make and model