Tags: Ebola Outbreak | Texas | hospital | nurses | CBS

Nurses' Union Rips CBS Report on Hospital's Ebola Response

By    |   Tuesday, 28 Oct 2014 04:45 PM

A nurses' union is lashing out at a CBS "60 Minutes" interview with healthcare workers at the Texas hospital where the nation's first Ebola patient, Thomas Eric Duncan, was admitted, and is blasting the facility for not doing enough to protect nurses caring for him.

The Sunday segment highlighted four nurses at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, who praised the facility's response to the crisis. CBS anchor Scott Pelley said their stories were in contrast to "reports that the hospital bungled the response."



Duncan died Oct. 8, and two nurses involved in his care subsequently were diagnosed with the disease. Both have since recovered after treatment at facilities specially equipped and staffed for biohazardous admissions.

"Obviously those nurses gave a very heartfelt, compassionate response to caring for an ill patient," Charles Idelson, a spokesman for National Nurses United, told Politico.

"I would say our concern is where is the accountability of the hospital? Anyone listening to that report would never have guessed that that hospital had some responsibility to provide some degree of protection," Idelson said.

One Texas nurse interviewed by "60 Minutes" attributed the infection of her two colleagues to the "learning curve" on which both the hospital and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were on from the start of Duncan's hospitalization.

"It's unfortunate that colleagues had to get sick, but it was a learning curve," the interviewed nurse commented.

It's no excuse, the union spokesman said.

"The hospital was not adhering to proper safety protocols, which means having the optimal level of personal safety equipment and optimal training programs for the people who are most likely to be infected, which is the people treating the patient," he said. "Somehow, this hospital managed to have two people who were infected. There has to be some accountability by these hospitals."

In an Oct. 16 statement, the Texas hospital argued it was doing everything the CDC had urged in its guidelines at the time.

"National Nurses United recently made allegations regarding the protocols and equipment in place during Thomas Eric Duncan's treatment at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas," the statement begins.

"The assertions do not reflect actual facts learned from the medical record and interactions with clinical caregivers. Our hospital followed the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines and sought additional guidance and clarity," it continues.

But Idelson said the hospital had the financial resources to do much more.

"Some of these hospitals are far more concerned with their profit margins than with safety," Idelson said. "Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital recorded $152 million in profits last year. It is a part of a chain that recorded $2.1 billion in profits. Surely that hospital could have afforded to have better protocols in place."

The union spokesman also pointed out that other staff "have raised concerns about what they feel were shortcomings at that hospital," including one registered nurse who chastised the facility for not properly training nurses and providing appropriate protective gear.

The harsh assessment comes as "60 Minutes" grapples with critiques of other reporting gaffes, Politico notes, including a largely promotional interview with Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, an uncritical interview with National Security Agency Director Gen. Keith Alexander, and erroneous reporting on Benghazi by correspondent Lara Logan.

Nevertheless, Politico points out, the "60 Minutes" segment drew 13.46 million viewers – beating out the audience tuning in for the usually dominant NBC "Sunday Night Football" game.

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A nurse's union is lashing out at a CBS "60 Minutes" interview with healthcare workers at the Texas hospital where the nation's first Ebola patient, Thomas Eric Duncan, was admitted, and is blasting the facility for not doing enough to protect nurses caring for him.
Texas, hospital, nurses, CBS
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2014-45-28
Tuesday, 28 Oct 2014 04:45 PM
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