Friday, October 17, 2014

we won't ever be ready for ebola

Lets hope there aren't more than 9 patients with ebola in this country at any one time. That's how many biocontainment unit beds there are available in the country right now.  Four of them are presently filled.

This country has a real dilemna right now.  They are trying to be ready for a disease they aren't ready for. Reality is hitting all of the so called experts in the face.  All their wonderful plans aren't working out the way they thought they would.  The thing is: they still don't get it.

They still think that if they recommend a massive training exercise about isolation gear involving thousands and thousands of healthcare workers across the country it will all be okay.  If they train them using the normal isolation gear, teaching them to take it on and off properly, we will all be okay.  Here is the problem with this:

1) The training so far is not mandatory.  This is hard to believe, but not everyone will go.

2) The gear is inadequate.  There are too many pieces to the ordinary isolation gear which makes it more dangerous to take off.  The ordinary gear is not sufficient.  People need hazmat gear. It is being used by  everyone else taking care of people with ebola, including those in West Africa where it is an epidemic.  It is only in the US that workers are being asked to use something other than hazmat gear.

3) Hospitals are not going to train everyone that care for patients how to use hazmat gear. It is too time intensive. It costs too much money to train and for the suits.

4) We are not prepared to even get rid of the waste from an ebola patient.  Even the people in charge of these biocontainment units can only take care of so many because they can only handle the waste of so many.  If they are saying that, how can an ordinary hospital possibly be ready for the waste?

5) Finally: About the time, the next nurse or other healthcare worker comes up positive for ebola, nurses are going to start refusing to care for these patients.  They will be unwilling to risk it for themselves and their families. Sure, there are going to be some nurses who will being willing to risk it, but I guarantee the vasst majority of nurses will say: don't think so.  I am not going to put my new baby at home in jeopardy because you can't do this right.   Yup, they are going to be willing to risk their jobs over this.

So then what? As a country, we still figure we won't have to deal with more than a few cases. So far there have been seven. Hey, odds are good we won't have an epidemic.  What is very worrisome however is the fact that this is out of control in Africa right now.  I have seen figures of 10,000 a week by December if it doesn't get under control soon.  It isn't going to get under control soon.  1,000,000 cases by January.  The world still thinks it won't affect them. When it gets to that many cases, it will.  Then what?


Barb said...

We've sent some help to Liberia, but we need to start focusing more on helping to stop the outbreak over there. That's going to be the only solution.

Anonymous said...

We have mandated training. We have decided to utilize our disaster supply Chem suits with PAPR for all people caring for these patients. We have disposal containers and procedures for transporting them in place. Finally we have designated strike teams of volunteer RNs willing to care for these patients should the need arise. Some facilities are prepared(ing). What we are not prepared for is a true epidemic with dozens of cases. One thing at a time.