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Thursday, October 09, 2014

nurses should refuse to care for ebola patients or those who been exposed to the disease

If you think that your doctor, urgent care, hospital, emergency room are prepared to deal with ebola you are fooling yourself.

Hospitals are not prepared for an ebola outbreak and they won't be.  Why not?  Because they won't spend the money to be prepared. To put their employees through training where they could actually handle a biological or chemical event would be costly. In this day and age hospitals are losing money and adjusting to the new reality of decreased reimbursement. They are willing to take the chance that it will never happen at their hospital.

I think they figure they are covered because they have written instructions on what should be done. The thing is those written instructions mean shit.  In a situation where you have this kind of event, you need practical experience or you are literally taking your life in your hands. The most important part of this is the donning and removing of the isolation gear. If you don't do that right, you are screwed. The spanish nurse is proof of that.  One touch of a contaminated hand apparently infected her.

We are told that a fluid resistant gown, regular mask, goggles, gloves (think about double gloving) is sufficient. Wear paper booties.  Apparently you don't have to have a head cover, the back of the gown can be open.  Your head, neck will be exposed.  Now, if you are a nurse, you know that fluids don't always do what you want them to do.  They splash, they fly across the room.

We are told to observe each other as we don and remove the isolation gear, assuming we know how it is supposed to be done.  I don't know how its supposed to be done.  Do I really want to take responsibility for someone else hoping I do it right?

This is really starting to piss me off. I mean seriously, we can't even count on being protected from stuff like this.  I don't want to assume this will never happen.  I want to assume that it will.

What people and administrators and  those who write pretty policies don't get is that if you don't protect the health worker, it doesn't matter what else you do because they are going to get the disease and they are going to spread it to others.  All the fancy equipment, care you provide won't mean anything because you didn't cover the basics.

Maybe nurses should start voicing that they refuse to take care of any potential ebola patients or those who actually have the disease because they feel unprepared and they are not willing to risk their lives or those of their family.  Think that would wake them up?

3 comments:

jimbo26 said...

I think it is that when an ' official ' gets infected THEN something is ' done ' . While there are plenty of nurses , ' officials ' are not worried .

Caitlin Flynn said...

I have to say my hospital offered a class on PPE recently. Of course I wasn't on that shift but at least they put some effort in. You are very right though.

Anonymous said...

Hope you will be more successful in refusing...nurses in my facility were told we could refuse to care for Ebola patients, but that we would immediately be sent home and fired.