Monday, October 13, 2014

Dear Mr. CDC director: you still don't get it about ebola

Dear Mr. CDC director:

You continue to be clueless about ebola and the practicality of caring for patients with ebola.
I am no rocket scientist, I'm not even an almighty doctor, but I am some practical suggestions for you:

1) You and the government need to MANDATE that hospitals have to do practical training of caring for a possible ebola patient.  Do you really think cash strapped hospitals are going to do this voluntarily? Mandate they have the supplies they need.

2) Put any ebola patient in one of the biocontainment units in the hospitals that have them in the four states that have them.  These people have been trained for this event.  They know what they are doing.  We in other places do not and the chances of being contaminated are high. There is equipment available to fly a patient in isolation to another location.  There are companies that specialize in this.

3) Perhaps I don't understand quarantine...but it seems like people who have had direct contact with ebola patients should be quarantined.  I know, I know, they have to show symptoms to be contagious, but why would you have health care workers in their homes, possibly contaminating their families? Someone needs to explain this to me.

I will give you an idea of what it is like right now to be an ER nurse.  We have been referred to the CDC site and our own infection control information on the internet.  We have 2 ebola packets with gown, face shield, booties in the triage area.  We have been instructed to take the patient to an isolation room and expect to do little with them. No blood draws, nothing.  That is assuming they are not unstable.  Hard to believe that would happen.

So lets say the patient is unstable.  I have to go in the room.  I put all the gear on.  I'm ready to come out.  Where do I go to take it off?  I'm assuming that we don't take it off in the room. So there is really no place to go to take it off.  We can't go out in the hall.  We can't walk through the ER to another area.  So I guess we stay in the room forever.  Little joke there, but essentially we have not been told what to do.  Emailed someone about this.  Haven't heard back....


Anonymous said...

# 2 needs to happen NOW

Anonymous said...

The CDC and the US Government just made the ER triage nurse the most dangerous job in the United States.

Anonymous said...

In the same boat at my hospital. Already had a "This could be ebola" patient - from the right region, with the right symptoms. Our hospital sent the patient home, then realized what could be going on a day later and had the patient come back in. Luckily, it ended up not being ebola - but it could have been. We got the same BS about gown, gloves, booties, facemask. No head to toe coverage for us!

It's sad when major US hospitals are providing worse protection and training for their staff than those in middle of nowhere Africa.

It does sound like our hospital is moving toward reasonable policy though. They're working on putting together a policy where if a possible ebola patient comes in, you send them home in the same vehicle they came in, and quarantine them at home. Send people in to draw labs and provide care at home, so they don't contaminate anywhere else.