The new Ebola strategy
announced Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is not the right remedy to ensure that future patients get proper treatment while preventing the spread of the virus, said Betsy McCaughey.
In an opinion piece for the New York Post, the chairman of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths said the new guidelines
given by the CDC for states to designate specific hospitals for Ebola preparation would not prevent future mistakes of the kind made at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital.
"A safer strategy would be to expand capacity at the nation’s four bio-containment hospitals, which have treated Ebola patients successfully without the virus spreading to a single healthcare worker," McCaughey wrote.
"Most Americans have virtually no risk of getting Ebola. But doctors and nurses treating an Ebola patient are at high risk, despite CDC assurances that its 'protocols' work."
McCaughey noted that until this week CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden had predicted that any hospital could handle Ebola cases, an assumption, she said, that proved untrue
given the mistakes that were made during the treatment of Thomas Eric Duncan.
"Texas Health Presbyterian, a highly regarded 900-bed Dallas hospital, couldn’t handle Ebola. Why is the CDC betting on other hospitals to fare better?" she said.
McCaughey said future Ebola patients should be treated at the bio-containment centers in the way the two infected Dallas nurses are currently being treated.
She added that while the centers can currently only treat 11 patients at a time, expanding the capacity of those facilities would be easier than preparing hundreds of hospitals to treat Ebola.
"Hospitals should be prepared to recognize possible cases, isolate them — and then call for help. Period," she said.
McCaughey also said the new guidelines for head-to-toe cover for caregivers may not be enough to prevent them from getting infected.
"Any error in removing the gear can expose a caregiver to vomit and other bodily fluids contaminating the outside of the gear," she wrote. "So far this year, 16 Doctors Without Borders medical personnel in Africa, all experienced in relying on a buddy system to avoid errors, became infected despite wearing gear. Nine of them died."
She concluded by saying, "The best Ebola strategy is to protect our local hospitals, healthcare workers, and patients by relying on the nation’s bio-containment facilities. That’s what they were built for."
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