HELP the COVID-19 Situation: Pretend to be a doctor!

This situation sucks. There seems to be an easy solution, though. All of you healthy, probably-not-carriers should go and do the following:

  1. Go buy this totally legit medical costume uniform
    If you’re feeling snazzy, consider making your own mask or bring a DIY ventilator with you.

  2. Find your nearest medical-type facility.

  3. Walk inside, pretend you know what you’re doing, and start performing medicine.

Alright, calm down. Now that I have your attention…

Please, from the bottom of my heart, stop posting this junk. I know it comes from a good place. You want to help people. But let’s be honest: no FRC team is equipped to produce necessary medical supplies. Even if you could, most of you probably couldn’t even get into your shops.

The “it’s better than nothing” argument is nonsense. Devices which function as intended 99-100% of the time cannot afford even a 98% success rate. A bad mask provides a false sense of security. I don’t even want to get into what would happen if a ventilator didn’t behave as intended (read: other threads, malpractice case files).

The “this would be fine if it weren’t for the pesky government” argument is laughable. Whatever you think about the government and their response to COVID-19, you should acknowledge the efficacy of medical regulation in this country. Standards have been lowered in some arenas to get products through faster, but those standards are not low enough that anything you do will be acceptable. Even if you don’t like the heads of the agencies or whatever, the career civil servants and medical professionals working day-to-day at the CDC, NIH, and other agencies have mostly been doing this for a very long time. Their funding might be hampered by the federal government, but they are certainly working as productivity as they can within funding constraints, etc.

The “I need something to do” argument is my least favorite. I also need something to do (as should be evident by this post :stuck_out_tongue:). That being said, check out:

If you don’t agree with me, that’s fine. Just look how many of these types of threads have been closed or devolved into circular arguments.

Even if you don’t agree with me, though, I implore you, please stop posting things which aren’t true or have bad medical advice. If you think people won’t take you seriously so it doesn’t matter what you say, remember, every team has that one kid who believes everything they read on the internet. Fact check your posts, for the sake of the worst kid on your team, and every team.


I certainly agree with a lot of this post. Especially with the idea that FRC teams could make ventilators… there’s no way. I do think there are probably ways that teams could contribute positively though. First would be with N95 masks. I would think a number of teams could have sponsors or people who work in industry who may have supplies of N95 masks. They’re used in construction, painting… I’ve heard Apple is donating millions of N95 masks. If teams could contact their sponsors to see if they had and could donate some I know they’d be greatly appreciated.

My wife and many of her and my friends work in the healthcare industry here in WA state. A friend of ours is a nurse working in the ED and had blood coughed into her face from a COVID-19 patient. She was not wearing a mask, they do not have enough of them. This friend of ours is also 19 weeks pregnant. Thankfully her subsequent test came back negative, but this is the situation many of our healthcare workers are currently in.

I don’t know about the feasibility/safety of some of these 3d printed masks. I haven’t looked into them enough, just heard anecdotes. But if they are a viable alternative, I certainly wouldn’t want to discourage anyone with the ability to pursue them further from doing so.


OP - 95% agree.

Austin’s point of networking #FindThePPE efforts with construction, industrial, and local people is critical!

Additionally, some FRC teams will have the ability to bring networks together to sew cloth masks, make gowns, or manufacture plastic face shields (ie auxiliary PPE) that local providers can use. A mentor or parent probably knows someone who needs auxiliary PPE. Might only be a few hundred pieces, but at this point many orgs are at the place where that matters.
The key bottleneck is identifying demand - is anyone in your team’s network already in touch with a local hospital? Is there a maker group who’s already in touch with that hospital? What designs will that institution accept?

Viable options are being evaluated & listed here. Spoiler: most of them aren’t great

wanted to add your post on the other thread here:

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Can we get this topic pinned?