Giving Back to Urgent Care Doctors During COVID-19

Urgent Care doctors on the front lines of this pandemic have been faced with unimaginable circumstances, including fear and grief. Caring people of the community have made an extraordinary effort to give back to these medical professionals in unexpected ways. The Courier spoke with Exer Urgent Care’s Chief Medical Officer, Brian Wilbur, M.D., about some of the ways the community has been giving back. 

Goggles for Docs is a group of volunteers who are donating ski and snowboarding-style goggles to healthcare workers. After hearing about the organization from a friend, Wilbur went to their website to apply for donations. 

“A friend told me that a group of snow sports enthusiasts had the amazing idea to repurpose ski goggles as safety goggles. I thought to myself, ‘that’s genius.’ What a fantastic idea,” Wilbur told the Courier. “Wearing hard plastic lab glasses all day is uncomfortable because they’re heavy and they fog up easily. When we got our shipment from Goggles for Docs, I slipped a pair on and my face smiled. They’re padded, they don’t fog up, they’re extremely comfortable and I can wear them all day long as I’m seeing patients,” he said. “They have the additional benefit of reminding me of snowboarding, so it keeps me stoked while I’m working in the urgent care.” 

While much emphasis has been placed on masks covering the nose and mouth since the pandemic broke out, eye care is just as vital to those on the front lines. “When a sick person coughs or talks, virus particles can spray from their mouth or nose into another person’s face,” said Wilbur. 

Within four days of Wilbur’s first request, Goggles for Docs donated 50 goggles to each Exer clinic, which includes 16 locations across Southern California. Thus far, Exer has received 800 goggles to help protect their medical staff while working on the frontlines through this pandemic. 

Exer has also benefitted from the creativity and kindness of another benefactor. She’s a 5th grader from Los Angeles named Hayzell. After watching the news and hearing complaints from her aunt who works at Exer Urgent Care, Hayzell, decided to design a headband that would hold a facemask more comfortably. The new device has buttons on either side to hold the elastic straps of the mask instead of around the ears. Her plan was to make this a little more comfortable for health providers to wear for long periods of time. This young inventor suffers from asthma and allergies, so she knows first-hand how uncomfortable a mask can be and the pain it causes to the back of the ear. 

After Hayzell’s aunt wore her handmade prototype from her niece to work, it drew a lot of attention and praise from co-workers. They soon lined up to order their own versions. Since making the prototype, Hayzell has hand-sewn over 40 headbands in less than one month and she’s now adding personal touches based on requests such as butterfly clips, extra buttons, or added fabric for support. 


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