Medical Fetishists Are Donating Their Role-Play PPE So Doctors and Nurses Can Survive the Coronavirus

They’ve been remarkably generous about turning over their scrubs, gloves and face masks to local doctors and hospitals. But isn't something seriously wrong when the government is counting on kinksters to save us from a global pandemic?

On a Friday morning near the end of March, Justin Hyde woke up to a curious, desperate-sounding email from a representative of the British National Health Service: “Urgently need disposable scrubs for hospital use.” 

That was odd — he wasn’t a medical supplier, nor was he in the hospital business. He wasn’t even in the medical field, so why were they reaching out to him

Seconds later, it hit him — they wanted his fetish goods. And stat. 

Hyde is a medical fetishist. Along with his partner Maggie, he owns and operates MedFetUK, a medical fetish supply site where interested parties can buy medical and surgical-grade needles, respiratory masks, nitrile exam gloves, catheters, surgical drapes, dental kits, speculums, face masks, scrubs, disinfectants and other accoutrements they might need to act out a realistic and sanitary role play. But while their products are stocked and intended for kinksters, they’re also exactly the kinds of things that the NHS — and health-care systems around the world — are dangerously low on right now. 

In England where MedFetUK is based, the British Medical Association has estimated that medical workers are short millions of units of personal protective equipment (PPE) like gloves, gowns and respirators, and the World Health Organization has demanded that industry increase its PPE output by at least 40 percent to meet the growing demand of doctors, nurses and first responders who have no other way to keep themselves safe as they toil, unprotected, on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Like face masks, disposable scrubs, which the NHS requested from Hyde, have been particularly hard to come by. In the U.K. and beyond, nurses have been wearing trash bags as PPE (and dying of coronavirus because of it). In New York, health-care workers were outraged after they were given Yankees rain ponchos to wear as protective gear in lieu of actual, medical-grade supplies. Normally, health-care workers are supposed to throw out their disposable scrubs, face masks and gloves every time they leave a patient’s room, but now, doctors and nurses are being told to use the same pair for an entire day or rewash single-use PPE when they get home. 

As most people, Hyde had been following the news, so when he got the email from the NHS, he wasn’t exactly surprised that they’d come for his scrubs. What did strike him, however, was how desperate they seemed. “They were looking for large quantities of gowns, which we don’t have,” he tells me, explaining that they don’t keep more than 25 pairs of disposable scrubs in stock at any given time. “The surprise with this one was that when we said we only had a few sets of scrubs, they said even that would be a help.”

Though the impact would be relatively small, Hyde didn’t have to think twice about what to do — he liquidated his stock of disposable scrubs and sent it to a local hospital, free of charge (he would have sent hand sanitizer and face masks too if they hadn’t already been snatched up in early March). It felt good to help out, he says, but the high of chipping in only lasted so long. Afterward, he couldn’t shake the creeping feeling that something was terribly off about the whole thing — if the NHS was resorting to desperation tactics and hunting down niche members of the fetish community for supplies, didn’t that mean Britain’s PPE shortage was even more dire than it seemed?

Angry that the British government had allowed the situation to reach such a dangerous point, Hyde rifled off a series of tweets calling them out for their inexcusable lack of preparedness. “When we, a tiny company set up to serve a small portion of the kink community, find ourselves being sought out as a last-resort supplier to the National Health Service in a time of crisis, something is seriously wrong,” he wrote. “In fact, it’s scandalous.” 

As we said in our thread on Twitter, we’re pretty angry that the U.K. government has put its health-care workers in such a position, where they’ve to come to us for just a few scrubs because they’re in danger of running out of vital protective equipment,” he explains. “Not only has the Conservative government underfunded the NHS for 10 years, they knew of the coronavirus threat several months ago, and they did little or nothing to prepare during that crucial period before the virus started to spread rapidly outside of China.”

That sentiment really hit home for most of his followers, and within hours of posting, MedFetUK’s tweets went viral, catching the attention of hundreds of other medical fetishists and sex industry professionals who, if they weren’t doing so already, started pitching in their own medical fetish gear and equipment to local hospitals, clinics and organizations. 

In Austin, Mistress Odettee told NewNowNext she donated her entire personal stock of masks, goggles and face shields, and is spending time she would have ordinarily spent seeing clients hand-sewing reusable masks for nurses and mutual aid workers (she makes 10 to 20 per day). Nurse Madeline, a Chicago “enema nurse, medical fetish dominatrix and role-play expert,” donated her supplies as well — as she explains over email, her gowns, masks, alcohol swabs and disinfecting wipes were also sent to the front lines, and Hyde says he knows of “several individuals” and “pro-dominatrixes” who have either donated their own supplies or are involved in making masks as well. In fact, one medical fetish specialist and pro-domme he knows is an actual nurse, and has even volunteered to return to work if required. 

Meanwhile, Pornhub recently announced that it would be donating 50,000 surgical masks to first responders and hospitals around New York City, and pledged an additional €50,000 to organizations in Germany, Italy and Spain to be used on masks and medical equipment. And for its part, Doxy, a sex-toy company that makes massive, earthquake-strong wand vibrators, has been manufacturing “ear savers” to ease the pain of long-term mask usage. 

But these donations aren’t unique to the sex industry or the previously well-stocked medical fetishists to whom playing with face masks and scrubs once meant a very different thing than it does now. Rather, they’re part of a larger trend of medical supplies coming not from governments or PPE manufacturers, but from more unexpected, crowd-sourced places like small armies of individuals and businesses with both the time and access to tools and technologies they need to make homemade PPE when bigger outfits can’t — the biggest and most visible contributors being those from the fashion industry. 

Dov Charney of Los Angeles Apparel has pledged to churn out 300,000 face masks and 50,000 gowns per week out of his L.A. factory. New York fashion designer Christian Siriano has assigned his 10 seamstresses to face-mask duty. And swimwear company Karla Colletto is planning on replicating masks made by 3M. In smaller ponds, a particularly crafty long-distance couple is attempting to kill their loneliness with mutual mask production from their respective quarantines, and YouTube’s legion of content creators has banded together to educate the public about DIY face masks for civilians

So far, none of these supplies are medical-grade, but as the CDC made clear in its decision to encourage widespread face mask usage last week, you take what you can get. 

The most memorable poster child of this so-called “civilian supply chain,” however, is, without a doubt, MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell. A bizarre pillow king whose long-running love affair with “making America great again” earned him some confusing, Jesus-themed airtime during one of the White House’s coronavirus briefings in March, Lindell has become the unwanted face of private, unconventional face-mask production. The president has become so taken with him — likely because he’s a Grade-A Trump ass-kisser — that he’s been encouraging Lindell to run for office. 

Hyde, on the other hand, has received no such recognition, nor does he want it. He insists he’s no hero, and you can trust that he won’t be slapping backs with politicians on a national broadcast anytime soon. “We don’t deserve any special kudos,” he wrote via MedFetUK’s Twitter account. “We just did the obvious and only right thing to do. The real heroes are the NHS staff at every level who are on the front line of this fight.”

But while that’s undoubtedly the case, the question still remains: Where does that leave the medical fetishists who also need to get theirs? The supplies they so dearly love are being put to noble use, but are any of them pissed they can’t get the masks, disinfectants and gowns they need for the perfect quarantine scene?

Psh. Hardly. 

Hyde says he’s had “nothing but positive responses from [his] customers” regarding his, or any other medical fetishist’s donations. “Most people,” he explains, “are well-aware that we’re dealing with something unprecedented, and whatever our personal preferences or desires may be, if we have to be patient and wait for things to get back to some kind of normal before we can start to do all the things we want to do again, then that’s okay.”