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Patient uses gift of sewing to make masks

Written By: Laura Frnka-Davis | Updated: April 24, 2020
Patient donates masks

A talented UT Physicians' patient dusted off her sewing machine and got to work when she learned about the need for masks.

When Ousa O’Mara, a patient with UT Physicians Family Practice – Bayshore learned how desperately health care workers needed protective masks in the war against COVID-19, she dusted off her sewing machine and got to work.

“My mom used to sew mom/daughter outfits for me when I was a child,” said O’Mara. “When I had children of my own (triplets), I started making them coordinating outfits, which turned into a business. For several years, I sewed customer orders but stopped eight years ago until now.”

When the need for masks arose, her online group of seamstresses looked at various tutorials and patterns to determine what might work best. Due to the shortage of elastic right now, they had to get creative, looking at materials like elastic hair ties and headbands. They also have pipe cleaners or twist ties sewn in to make the mask shape to the nose.

“Just like after Hurricane Harvey, UTP Bayshore has seen generous outreach from members of our community,” said Julie S. Bortolotti, MD, family medicine doctor with UT Physicians Family Practice – Bayshore. “Ousa and fellow seamstresses showed me videos of several prototypes, and ultimately chose a multilayer mask with tightly woven layers in the center.”

The donated masks will be used for UT Physicians support staff and for those needing them away from work. They will also be given to team members to use when entering buildings around campus. This is especially important in light of the recent announcement that Houstonians will need to wear masks for the next 30 days to help flatten the curve.

“We are so grateful to Ousa and others in the community who have stepped up to meet this challenge,” said Bortolotti.

Reference this article on how to safely wear a mask.

As the clinical practice of McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston, UT Physicians has locations across the Greater Houston area to serve the community. To schedule an appointment, call 888-4UT-DOCS.