The following is a statement by Texas Medical Association President Dr. David C. Fleeger about Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s call for personal protective equipment donations:

“This pandemic is a once-in-a-lifetime event that will change our lives forever. Yet, know that this is a war that we can and will win.

“As physicians, we will be on the front lines. As a profession, we will serve our patients and our society with distinction. Of this I am sure.

“But the current shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) in Texas is unacceptable. Physicians and the rest of the health care team cannot be thrown into battle poorly equipped. We cannot safely test, examine, or treat our patients without protective masks, gowns, gloves, and other equipment.

“That is why the Texas Medical Association applauds Governor Abbott’s call to our brothers and sisters of industries across Texas to donate these critical supplies. Doing so can help physicians and health care providers protect themselves while answering our patients’ needs.

“The time for PPE to go anywhere other than the front lines has passed. All supply chains from industry (oil and gas, technology companies that use clean rooms, construction, auto body shops, and, yes, even dentistry and veterinary medicine) must now go to our doctors’ offices, clinics, and hospitals. There is no other option. This needs to happen immediately.

“We are tremendously grateful for those who have stepped forward to donate materials already. This is what Texans do when trouble strikes. We reach out a hand to those who need that hand. Right now, your doctors and the patients we serve need a hand to make it through this crisis.

“You can count on us to return the favor when we can.”

TMA is the largest state medical society in the nation, representing more than 53,000 physician and medical student members. It is located in Austin and has 110 component county medical societies around the state. TMA’s key objective since 1853 is to improve the health of all Texans.