Texas hospital responds to photo of COVID-19 patient draped in plastic 

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Medical Center Hospital in Odessa, Texas, said it received a flood of threats after a photo of a COVID-19 patient wearing a plastic drape over her head went viral, ABC affiliate KMID reported Oct. 14.

Odessa's Accountability Project, a nonprofit, independent watchdog group, posted the photo on its Facebook page Oct. 11. The post, which has since been shared more than 1,000 times, said the patient was given a plastic bag labeled with the words "equipment cover" to wear over her head and upper torso as she was transported through the hospital. 

Medical Center Hospital has spoken with the patient's mother to address the situation, CEO Russell Tippin said in a statement to Becker's

"We were pleased to have the mother reach out to us to address the situation," Mr. Tippin said. "Our top priority will always be the safety and care of our patients. We are always willing to listen to our patients' experiences to better communicate with them to make sure they are comfortable."

Mr. Tippin said the hospital will use clear, plastic drapes to prevent the spread of COVID-19 when transporting patients in certain situations, including if the patient cannot tolerate a mask or refuses to keep it on. Draped patients are never left unattended and are already receiving oxygen or breathing assistance. Patients or guardians also have the right to refuse the protection measure, he said.

Since the photo went viral, hospital employees have received threats to their lives and their families' lives, and bomb threats were made against the hospital, according to the statement. Medical Center Hospital said it's working with local police to investigate these threats. 

"Rest assured, we take all of these threats seriously and are taking appropriate action," Mr. Tippin said. "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."

 

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