Tags: Ebola Outbreak | ebola | hospitals | safety | contagious

Don't Let Small Hospitals Treat Ebola: Top Doctor

By    |   Monday, 13 October 2014 09:59 AM

A Dallas nurse who contracted Ebola from a patient in Dallas shows that local U.S. hospitals lack the specialized training needed to stop the deadly disease from spreading, a top Ebola expert tells Newsmax Health.  
 
“There are experts who say that any hospital in the U.S. can handle this disease, but I disagree,” David Sanders told Newsmax Health. Sanders, an associate professor of biological sciences at Purdue University, has done extensive Ebola research.
 
On Sunday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that a nurse had become infected while caring for Thomas Eric Duncan, who died of Ebola. The nurse is the first person to contract the virus in the U.S.
 
Although she wore a gown, gloves, mask, and a shield during each of her multiple visits with Duncan, she contracted the disease due to a “breach in protocol,” CDC officials said.  They did not specify exactly what error occurred, but speculated it may have been while the nurse was removing protective garb after administering respiratory intubation to Duncan. 
 
That such an infection could occur despite the wearing of full protective gear indicates how dangerous Ebola is and demonstrates that healthcare workers must be meticulous in safety protocol, said Sanders.
 
“Any hospital can treat Ebola, which basically involves maintaining blood pressure and fluid intake, but the fact that a healthcare worker contracted the disease while wearing protective gear troubles me,” said Sanders, who has done research for the U.S. government about to defend the country if Ebola were used in biological warfare.
 
“Small, local hospitals will rarely, if ever, see a case of Ebola, so it doesn’t make sense for them to be trained in how to treat it. It makes more sense for the patient to be transferred to a larger, regional hospital that is knowledgeable in how to care for Ebola,” Sanders said.
 
Patients should be transferred to large, regional facilities such as Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, which has special containment and treatment units, he said. There are about nine such hospitals across the U.S. Three Ebola patients were successfully treated at Emory after being transported from West Africa, where they contracted the disease.
 
So far, the CDC is indicating it will allow small hospitals to handle Ebola cases. It has supplied all hospitals with protective gear, and has voiced confidence that they can handle the disease. “Protective gear is an invaluable component of care in treating Ebola, but the training to use it properly isn’t widespread and you shouldn’t expect every hospital in the U.S. to practice that level of containment,” Sanders added.
 
The fact the nurse contracted Ebola is the second major error in the treatment of Thomas Duncan. The first was sending Duncan home with antibiotics after his initial visit to the hospital emergency room, only to readmit him two days later with a diagnosis of Ebola.
 
Sanders says health officials need to apply the lessons learned from the Dallas cases to make the public safer.
 
“The nurse’s case was identified immediately and word of it was communicated to the public in a timely manner,” he said. “It’s not like it was a disaster. But it’s unfortunate, and I believe proper training would have averted it. We need to learn from these incidents and apply what we learn.”
 
Officials said they are monitoring 48 healthcare workers who also came into contact with Duncan, as well as anyone the nurse was in contact with after she developed symptoms.  
 
“This case should not be cause for panic but it shows that healthcare workers put themselves at great risk. They are heroic, but such a case must not be allowed to happen again,” Sanders said.
 

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A Dallas nurse who contracted Ebola from a patient in Dallas shows that local U.S. hospitals lack the specialized training needed to stop the deadly disease from spreading, a top Ebola expert tells Newsmax Health. "There are experts who say that any hospital in the U.S....
ebola, hospitals, safety, contagious
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2014-59-13
Monday, 13 October 2014 09:59 AM
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