Special Isolation Unit FAQs

State Designation

The state has designated Texas Children’s Hospital as a pediatric site to care for potential Ebola patients. What does this mean?

The designation means we are the first line of defense for pediatric cases of Ebola and that our doors are open to any child who is showing symptoms of the illness. It also means the state believes we are the best place for such patients.

About the Isolation Unit

Texas Children’s Hospital recently announced its plan to build an eight-bed advanced isolation unit at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus. What kind of patients will be treated in the unit?

The unit will be for children with highly contagious infectious diseases, such as pandemic influenza, enterovirus D68, Ebola, and many others.

What will the isolation look like?

This new isolation unit will incorporate all of the latest scientific and technological approaches to biocontainment, including negative air pressure, laminar air flow, high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration, separate ventilation, anterooms, biosafety cabinets, a point-of-care laboratory, special security access, autoclaves and incinerators. There will be two levels of protection from airborne particles, as well as a comprehensive waste management plan, among other safety features.

The unit will be fully equipped to care for any infant or child with a serious communicable disease, with all of the measures available to assure safety of the health care team, other patients and their families. A point-of-care biosafety level 3 laboratory will enable the care team to monitor the progress of patients and perform rapid detection methods to identify unusual pathogens. Housed at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus, the unit will have capacity for eight patients, all in private rooms, and will be designed and equipped for pediatric intensive care.

Who will run and staff the unit?

This specialized unit, led by Dr. Gordon Schutze who will serve as medical director, as well as Dr. Judith Campbell and Dr. Amy Arrington who will be the unit’s associate medical directors, will be staffed by an elite team of experienced critical care and infectious disease nurses and physicians, all of whom will have successfully completed an intensive advanced certification course and practicum in infection control, hospital epidemiology and management of infectious diseases in the critical care setting. The staff will maintain their certification through participation in ongoing educational activities. The team will be comprised of staff selected from across the entire Texas Children’s system. This system-wide team will be activated and mobilized if needed when a patient presents who requires the team’s care and expertise.

This system-wide team will be activated and mobilized if needed when a patient presents who requires the team’s care and expertise. We are working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to design, build, equip and staff the unit.

When will the unit open and how much will it cost to build?

The new unit will be operational within nine months and cost approximately $16 million to build.


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