‘This is a long-term war.’ Texas Medical Center CEO discusses how the system is maintaining PPE supplies to fight COVID-19

HOUSTON – At least 3,000 COVID-19 patients have been treated in the Texas Medical Center. One of the biggest challenges in treating patients of a pandemic is protecting those who work in the hospitals.

"We saw the devastation it was causing," said Texas Medical Center president and CEO William McKeon. "We knew this virus was coming and with that, we also knew we had to really mount up the personal protection equipment."

Long before the first case of COVID-19 showed up in America, McKeon said he and his colleagues knew they needed to prepare.

"We created a war room on day one, all of the CEOs assembled together," he said.

The PPE supply chain was vital in making sure the Texas Medical Center, where the hospitals provide 70% of healthcare in a nine-county area, had what is needed.

PPE items include gloves, masks, eye protection and gowns. Not only are the supplies critical when treating infectious patients, but PPE also has a high “burn rate.”

“You can have beds, but if you cannot protect your nurses, your doctors and your technicians from providing care, you’re just expanding the virus,” said McKeon.

The medical center has an ample supply of all these items. However, McKeon said there is no time to relax.