It is fascinating to look into how ebola is treated. To learn the facts about whether we are ready or not.
Fascinating fact #1: Wonder why the two doctors went to Emory University hospital and the recently infected cameraman is now going to Nebraska Medical Center? The reason is those hospitals have high-level biocontainment patient care units . There are four in the country. Four. They have a total of 19 beds. Nineteen beds in the whole U.S. These places are set up to care for people with things like ebola.
Fascinating fact #2: What do health care workers currently caring for ebola patients wear? Full body suits and 3 pairs of gloves. That includes personal respirators, headgear, full-body suits and gloves. They wear a battery operated respirator that purifies incoming air before the person breathes it. A fan blowed the air across filters contained in cartridges. The respiratory covers your whole hed with a clar plastic piece over the face so you can see. Then they wear a jumpsuit type thing that covers from head to feet. They wear 3 pairs of gloves, one of which is thick to prevent needle accidents.
Imagine wear this get up for hours on end. Thankfully, most nurses have very strong bladder muscles due to having to hold their urine because they often don't get a break to pee for hours sometimes. Imagine trying to deal with complicated machines with small keys, syringes and needles with 3 pairs of gloves on.
Fascinating fact #3: It takes ten minutes to don the suit or take it off. A second person helps to make sure it is put on right. They make sure there are no rips or tears. The suit is then disposed of. Is the respirator thrown away too?
Fascinating fact #4: The people caring for these ebola patients get 80 hours of training before they even begin caring for the patients. There are monthly meetings and quarterly drills. In Nebraska the unit has a 30 person team.
Fascinating fact #5: Experts don't think you need all of the above to care for ebola patients. The CDC thinks that you only need gloves, goggles, face masks and gowns. Since they don't think its airborne they must not think you don't need negative pressure isolation rooms that filter the air.
If that is the case, why are these patients being cared for in these biocontainment units? Just so you know, Dallas Presbyterian doesn't have one of these units. Also of note, when you see health care workers caring for patients in West Africa, they have the full suit on. So which is it?
Here's the thing: If there was an ebola epidemic in the US, the military would handle it. They are the only ones ready to deal with something like this. They have trained for it, have the equipment and know how to handle it. The CDC would be out the window.