Medical Center Hospital addresses draping of COVID patient

Medical Center Hospital is aware of a photo of a COVID patient being transported within the hospital showing a plastic drape over the patient’s head and upper torso, a press release detailed.

MCH has spoken with the mother of the patient and discussed the patient’s treatment during her extended stay, including the use of the patient drape.

“We were pleased to have the mother reach out to us to address the situation,” MCH CEO and President Russell Tippin stated in the press release. “Our top priority will always be the safety and care of our patients. We are always willing to listen to our patient’s experiences to better communicate with them to make sure they are comfortable.”

Per MCH policy and CDC guidelines, a patient must wear a mask at all times, and this is our preferred method of protection for patients within the hospital, the press release stated. In certain circumstances, the use of a clear, plastic drape or covering for COVID patients during transport is used to prevent the virus from airborne spread to staff and other patients, especially in tight areas such as hallways and elevators. Those circumstances include if the patient refuses to wear a mask or keep it on, is unable to tolerate a mask or has an aerosol-generating procedure.

A draped patient is never left unattended and is already on some form of oxygen or breathing assistance, the press release detailed. As with any other medical procedure, the patient and/or guardian has the right to refuse the form of protection.

Due to the viral nature of this photo, our hospital and staff have received numerous threatening phone calls, including threats on their lives, their family’s lives and even threats of bombing the hospital. The Ector County Hospital District Police Department is investigating these threats, and the FBI has been contacted.

“Rest assured, we take all of these threats seriously and are taking appropriate action,” Tippin stated in the press release. “Under no circumstances will MCH tolerate such threats to staff members, their families or anyone associated with the health system. Our staff have been true heroes for the past 19 months in battling this pandemic and do not deserve the vicious threats spewed by these hateful individuals.”