Monday, October 06, 2014

journalist with ebola arrives at nebraska hospital

The reporter who contracted ebola has arrived in Nebraska.The patient in Dallas is in critical condition.  Chances are good that he will die.  Unfortunately..He is on a respirator.  He is on dialysis.

Ebola is a virus.  It is a virus like a cold or the flu is a virus.  Obviously it is a much more dangerous and deadly virus than the cold or flu.   The problem with viruses is that there is no treatment.  Antibiotics don't work.  Basically you have to ride a virus out and hope your immune system can  handle it.

So ebola is transmitted by contact with body fluids.  So lets say Joe was in Liberia on business.  He didn't know that the people he dealt with had family members who died of ebola.  The virus was transmitted to him.

Joe comes home.  He is his normal self.  He doesn't know it but the ebola virus is right now rapidly duplicating in his body.  About 9 days after he comes home, he starts to get sick.  Fever, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain.  He goes down to his local ER.  They ask him if he traveled out of the country.  He says he was in Liberia.  They isolate him and send him to ICU.

Joe develops a very high fever.  His immune system is trying desperately to stop the virus.  It can't keep up.  Ebola has invaded every part of Joe.  It affects your blood vessels, which start to leak. It causes your liver to go haywire and starts destroying it. The liver is what regulates your ability to clot blood so you won't bleed to death.  The damage can cause your blood to clot too much or not enough. The clotting impedes blood flow to your organs, which causes them not to work.   The damage can also cause the blood clotting process to fail and you start bleeding internally.  This is where the blood starts coming out of every orifice you have including your eyes.

The adrenal glands stop working.  They help regulate your blood pressure.  Your blood pressure drops. Your blood pressure hasn't been doing too well anyway with the bleeding from the liver problems and an overwhelmed immune system.  You go into shock. With the shock, oxygen isn't getting where it needs to go, including your lungs.  You have to be intubated and put on a ventilator. Medications are started to bring up your blood pressure which is complicated with your organs failing.   You get blood products, IV fluids.

Each of your organs has a purpose, including your kidneys which have now have failed.  The kidneys help remove waste from your system.  That's no longer possible.  You have no way to get rid of toxic stuff anymore.  You are put on dialysis which is a machine that removes it for you.

When you get to this point, which is the point the guy in Dallas is at, your chances of survival are slim to none. *

Ebola is truly like something out of a horror movie. Imagine your worst medical nightmare and thats about the size of it.

*This is a very simplistic explanation of what happens with ebola.  I am no expert, only a lowly nurse, and therefore, mostly,  really don't know what the hell I am talking about.  But here is my understanding of it, such as it is.

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