Statement by Texas Medical Association (TMA) President Diana L. Fite, MD, about managing Texas hospital capacities in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
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“If we – and that includes physicians, hospital administrators, and other health care leaders – don’t handle this correctly, the consequences will be severe for us, our patients, and large swaths of the Texas health care system. By ‘handle this correctly,’ I mean, we must:
“In many parts of our state, COVID-19 is making a terrifyingly strong return. Hospitals are activating surge plans to make room for more seriously ill patients – whether with COVID-19, other diseases, or significant trauma.
- Protect ourselves and the nurses and other professionals with whom we work from coronavirus infection;
- Work closely with our hospitals to schedule admissions and procedures for those patients who need them the most;
- Utilize ambulatory surgical centers and other outpatient facilities when it is appropriate; and
- Share this simple message, over and over, with our patients, our friends, our family, the news media, and elected officials: ‘Wash your hands often. Stay home if you can. Practice social distancing. And for your sake, for your neighbors’ sake, for my sake, and for your grandma’s sake, wear a mask, Texas.’
“The Texas Medical Association remains in close contact with the governor’s office, the Texas Department of State Health Services, the Texas Hospital Association, and other key players in this crisis. If Texans don’t follow safety guidelines, there will be additional spikes and surges in COVID-19 cases until a vaccine and/or effective treatment is produced. The potential of a combined coronavirus/flu outbreak this fall and winter is real, and it is as serious as it sounds.”