Public Health

Lawyer uses plastic covers on legal documents to make face shields for hospitals

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Cy Lo face masks 1

Photo courtesy of Cy Lo.

A San Francisco lawyer has come up with a way to help provide much-needed face shields for hospital workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lawyer Steven E. McDonald and other volunteers have been making the shields from plastic covers used for transcripts of legal depositions.

Cy Lo face masks 3Steven E. McDonald. Photo courtesy of Cy Lo.

“I came up with the ‘deposition cover as shield’ sort of as a joke, when I was cleaning out old files in early February prior to an office move,” McDonald told the ABA Journal in an email.

The deposition covers are converted into face masks by a group called Saving Face, which is led by San Francisco general contractor Cy Lo, a friend of McDonald’s.

Lo was trying to find supplies from other sources but ran into shortages, and that’s when McDonald came up with his idea.

McDonald was looking at plastic covers at office supply stores when it occurred to him to check for unused covers with his law office, his colleagues and court reporters.

“The response was immediate and truly remarkable,” McDonald told the ABA Journal. “One provider, U.S. Legal, sent out the word to all of their offices and we received thousands of covers from them. We have likewise received kind donations of covers from four or five other local reporters and their friends up and down the state.”

McDonald said his wife also reached out for donations. She received elastic bands from family and friends. An upholstery company donated several sheets of foam and elastic bands. The San Francisco Opera also contributed.

By the end of the week, Saving Face will have made about 2,100 face shields from legal document covers and about 300 from other sources, Lo said.

The plans for the shields come from an open-source site by a group of face shield makers at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

“This isn’t rocket science to assemble these,” Lo said in an email interview. “Even lawyers can do it.”

The shields are being donated to local hospitals and health care facilities. A GoFundMe page raised money for additional supplies.

Cy Lo face masks 2 Cy Lo. Photo courtesy of Cy Lo.

Lo has purchased materials from TAP Plastics to use when the supply of deposition covers runs out, which could occur this week or next. He is buying acetate rolls and vinyl used for boat awning windows.

McDonald warns that some hospitals won’t accept homemade equipment, so anyone pursuing a similar idea should check first. Other groups that may accept homemade face covers include nursing homes, assisted living facilities, police and fire personnel, and hospice workers.

Volunteers with Saving Face include about a dozen members of the South End Rowing Club, as well as close friends of Lo. Groups making masks for Saving Face are in the San Francisco area, the East Bay area and the Marin area.

“This is a dream team of volunteers” who also give their time to other causes, Lo told the ABA Journal.

McDonald said he is keeping busy with legal work during the day and making face shields in the evenings and on weekends. He is grateful for all the hard work by Lo and the other volunteers.

“Of course, our small contribution pales by comparison to the effort and sacrifice of the health care workers, emergency personnel and everyone else confronting the pandemic head-on while we are all squirreled away in our homes,” McDonald said.

Hat tip to KTVU, which also spoke to McDonald about the project.

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