Tags: Ebola Outbreak | Ebola. crisis | travel | Murphy

Rep. Tim Murphy: US Needs to Restrict Travel in Ebola Crisis

By    |   Saturday, 04 Oct 2014 06:24 PM

Rep. Tim Murphy said on Saturday that the Obama administration must restrict travelers from West Africa to the United States until they have been cleared of carrying the Ebola virus.

"We need restrictions on people coming over from there until the incubation time passes that proves they are healthy," the Pennsylvania Republican told Fox News. "We do not want to face this at our borders.

"The president said it's highly unlikely it will get here and it has. This is serious. We don't want public panic."

Murphy, a physician who has been on Capitol Hill since 2003, chairs the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, which is holding a Thursday hearing with administration officials on the U.S. response to the Ebola crisis.

Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease at the National Institutes of Health, are scheduled to testify.

Murphy's remarks came as the Dallas hospital treating Thomas Eric Duncan, the lone U.S. Ebola patient, said he was now in critical condition.

"Mr. Duncan is in critical condition," a spokeswoman for Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital said Saturday in a news release. No other information was provided.

The hospital had previously said that Duncan was being kept in isolation and that his condition was serious but stable.

The controversy surrounding Duncan's case grew amid reports that Texas Health doctors apparently never saw a nurse's note that an emergency room patient with fever and pains had recently been in Africa.

The misstep led doctors to release Duncan into the community while infected.

Texas Health doctors initially said on Friday that a nurse's notes on Duncan were contained in records that a physician would not see. But Friday night, a spokesman said that was not the case.

"We would like to clarify a point made in the statement released earlier," said the spokesman, Wendell Watson. "As a standard part of the nursing process, the patient's travel history was documented and available to the full-care team in the electronic health record (EHR), including within the physician's workflow."

There "was no flaw in the EHR in the way the physician and nursing portions interacted related to this event," Watson said.

Other medical professionals slammed the hospital for its debacle.

Dr. Ashish Jha, a health policy professor at Harvard University's School of Public Health, said no matter what, the doctor responsible should have double-checked Duncan's travel history before he was sent back into the community.

"There are so many flaws in the logic of  'the EMR system made us do it,' " Jha said of the hospital's initial statement. "When a patient walks in the ER with a fever, the standard question is ‘Have you traveled?' I don't understand why that question wasn't asked by the physician."

Questions like these led Murphy to call for a U.S. travel ban on Fox's "America's News Headquarters" on Saturday, especially since 26 other countries, including many in Africa, have restrictions in place.

“I think that's something we need to be looking at," he said. "I don't trust this virus is going to be willing to stop at a border because we want it to."

The Associated Press and Bloomberg News contributed to this report.

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Rep. Tim Murphy said on Saturday that the Obama administration must restrict travelers from West Africa to the United States until they have been cleared of carrying the Ebola virus. We need restrictions on people coming over from there until the incubation time passes...
Ebola. crisis, travel, Murphy
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2014-24-04
Saturday, 04 Oct 2014 06:24 PM
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