Here at Texas Children’s, we proudly embrace the role of trailblazers to accelerate health care for our patients and their families. Unified in our infinite passion for the mission, we continuously innovate ourselves to meet new medical challenges and situations.
In December, we announced our plan to build an eight-bed special isolation unit at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus. The unit is designed for children with highly contagious infectious diseases. Similar to the four other biocontainment units in the country, the one at Texas Children’s will be one of the only in the United States designated just for children.
“Having the best qualified people running the special isolation unit is key to its success,” said Dr. Gordon Schutze, the unit’s medical director. “Everyone involved will be specially trained in infection control, hospital epidemiology and management of infectious diseases in this special care setting.”
This elite Special Response Team will include physicians, registered nurses, medical technologists and environmental services technicians. The physicians and registered nurses will make up the care team while the medical technologists will perform special specimen testing in a state-of-the-art lab within the special isolation unit. In addition, the environmental services techs will handle waste processing from the unit through an autoclave.
The leaders dedicated to selecting the members of the Special Response Team have begun the process and are asking those who are interested in being a part of this unique and exciting team to raise their hands.
“Being part of this elite team will be an honor and a privilege,” said Dr. Judith Campbell, one of the unit’s associate medical directors.
Dr. Amy Arrington, the unit’s other associate medical director, agreed and said those who are selected to be on the Special Response Team will be getting the chance of a lifetime to impact care delivery. “The care that will be given inside the special isolation unit will be state-of-the art,” she said.
Texas Children’s leaders would like to have the members of the Special Response Team chosen and in place by this summer. At that point, the team will begin a series of ongoing training exercises that will ready them to be deployed to the SIU if it were to be activated.
To learn more about joining the Special Response Team, click here.
About the Special Isolation Unit
Since the decision to build a special isolation unit was made five months ago, members of a multidisciplinary team created specifically for the unit have visited two of the premiere biocontainment units in the country at Emory University in Atlanta and Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.
Many of the lessons learned by these organizations have been incorporated into the design of the special isolation unit at Texas Children’s and can be seen in a mock-up of the unit that was recently built on the fourth floor of West Campus. Construction of the unit is anticipated to begin in May and the unit should be fully operational in October.
“This unit will help us do what we do best and that is care for children with some of the most serious and complex medical conditions,” West Campus President Chanda Cashen Chacón explained. “The organization’s decision to create a special isolation unit illustrates the level of competency and skill we have here at Texas Children’s.”