Massachusetts General Hospital president: We need to think about this in a 'war-like stance'

Massachusetts General Hospital president: We need to think about this in a 'war-like stance'
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The president of Massachusetts General Hospital said Sunday that health-care officials are preparing for battle against the coronavirus outbreak. 

"I think we need to think about this in almost a war-like stance," Dr. Peter Slavin said on NBC's "Meet the Press." 

Host Chuck ToddCharles (Chuck) David ToddThe Memo: Is Trump the GOP's future or in rearview mirror? Carville advises Democrats to 'quit being a whiny party' Clyburn says he 'wholeheartedly' endorses Biden's voting rights remarks MORE asked Slavin what his concerns are, noting reports of a lack of health-care equipment including ventilators and respirators. 


"What are your concerns? Has the federal government stepped up enough on this front?" Todd asked. 

"My concern is that we have millions of health-care workers around this country who are prepared to do battle against this virus, but I'm concerned that there are at least a couple of areas of supplies that they need in order to fight that virus as effectively as possible," Slavin said.

One area is necessary testing, he said. 

"We've started at Mass. General Brigham to increase, to do our testing as of yesterday," Slavin added 


Slavin added that he's hearing from hospitals around the country that personal protective equipment is low "even before the most significant battles lie ahead."

"We need the federal government to engage in a Manhattan Project to get industry to create surgical masks, eye protection devices, gowns, so that our health-care workers can engage in this battle," Slavin said. "We wouldn't want to send soldiers into war without helmets and armor, we don't want to do the same with our health-care workers." 

Johnese Spisso, president of UCLA Health, said on the same show that the focus now is to establish "surge capacity," recognizing that most hospitals are full. 

"So our efforts have looked at really how we can create additional places to care for patients," she said. "If you go past our emergency department now, you'll see tents erected in the parking lot that allow us to increase emergency department capacity. We're, throughout our 180 clinics throughout Los Angeles and Southern California, we're encouraging telemedicine visits so we can create additional capacity there."

Spisso added that UCLA Health also set up satellite drive-through testing stations. 

"We're hoping to continue to increase capacity. And having that drive through area allows us to really contain patients from coming in to our main hospitals, where our most sick patients are," she said.