10.15.2014 07:35 AM

How not to manage a public health crisis

This was slipped under peoples’ doors in the middle of the night. Seriously.

The coordination of the medical/governmental/public response to this thing has been a five-alarm shit show. Not going to end well, methinks.




  1. Matt says:

    Second nurse in Dallas tested positive today.

    “Very real possibility there will be more”

    WTF are they doing at that hospital?

    • !o! says:

      From the LA times: http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-ebola-dallas-20141014-story.html#page=1

      “The Dallas nurses asked the union to read their statement so they could air complaints anonymously and without fear of losing their jobs, National Nurses United Executive Director RoseAnn DeMoro said from Oakland. DeMoro refused to say how many nurses signed off on the letter or how many were on the media call, but she said all of them worked at Texas Health Presbyterian and had been involved in Duncan’s care or had direct knowledge of what had occurred after he arrived by ambulance Sept. 28.

      They were spurred to speak out after their colleague Nina Pham, a 26-year-old registered nurse, contracted Ebola while treating Duncan, according to DeMoro. She said the nurses were angered over what they perceived to be health officials’ suggestions that Pham made a mistake that led to her exposure to the virus, which is believed to have killed more than 4,400 people in West Africa.

      The nurses’ statement alleged that when Duncan was brought to Texas Health Presbyterian by ambulance with Ebola-like symptoms, he was “left for several hours, not in isolation, in an area” where up to seven other patients were. “Subsequently, a nurse supervisor arrived and demanded that he be moved to an isolation unit, yet faced stiff resistance from other hospital authorities,” they alleged.

      Duncan’s lab samples were sent through the usual hospital tube system “without being specifically sealed and hand-delivered. The result is that the entire tube system … was potentially contaminated,” they said.

      The statement described a hospital with no clear rules on how to handle Ebola patients, despite months of alerts from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta about the possibility of Ebola coming to the United States.

      “There was no advanced preparedness on what to do with the patient. There was no protocol. There was no system. The nurses were asked to call the infectious disease department” if they had questions, but that department didn’t have answers either, the statement said. So nurses were essentially left to figure things out on their own as they dealt with “copious amounts” of highly contagious bodily fluids from the dying Duncan while they wore gloves with no wrist tape, flimsy gowns that did not cover their necks, and no surgical booties, the statement alleged.

      “Hospital officials allowed nurses who interacted with Mr. Duncan to then continue normal patient-care duties,” potentially exposing others, it said.”


      Also from another local news station: http://www.wfla.com/story/26789184/second-texas-health-care-worker-tests-positive-for-ebola

      “They’re not prepared” for what they are being asked to do, said RoseAnn DeMoro, executive director of National Nurses United, a union with 185,000 members.

      Based on statements from nurses it did not identify, the union described how Duncan was left in an open area of the emergency room for hours. It said staff treated Duncan for days without the correct protective gear, that hazardous waste was allowed to pile up to the ceiling and safety protocols constantly changed.

      DeMoro refused to say how many nurses made the statement about Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, but insisted they were in a position to know what happened.”

      • debs says:

        wow, that is insane!

      • Lance says:

        And this is where we are at; we could be looking at a pandemic in North America……..and people are worried about their unionized skin.


        • !o! says:

          Ummm, the union is announcing that health care workers are working in unsafe conditions, which precipitates further spread of the disease, and endangers EVERYONE. If it weren’t for the union making this announcement, we wouldn’t even have reports of it in the first place, making it less likely that things will be done to improve conditions, and you choose to somehow see this as the union doing something bad?

          Do you have a functioning human brain?

          • Lance says:

            From the article. It’s the very first line –

            “The Dallas nurses asked the union to read their statement so they could air complaints anonymously and without fear of losing their jobs”.

            There. Now go back to sleep.

  2. patrick says:

    The flu and malaria is more of a threat than Ebola will ever be and will kill far more people. Ebola is a particularly nasty disease for the sufferer, it’s relatively new and at the moment there is no cure, but, it is at its most contagious when people are visibly ill. With our medical infrastructure the threat is relatively small. Not negligible, but nothing to run screaming into the streets at a coming apocalypse. Read the Hot Zone years ago and it explained this pretty much. Now if the virus evolves, well then it’s bunker down.

  3. Tired of it All says:

    Agreed. Vince Covello is slapping his forehead. They are failing at every significant measure of crisis communications.

  4. smelter rat says:

    America’s most trusted news source is a comedy show: http://thedailyshow.cc.com/videos/kgr74h/au-bon-panic?xrs=playershare_fbshare

  5. debs says:

    this is really going to set off the panic, and with texas, its gonna end in gun violence:P

  6. Matt says:

    The guy now heading up the CDC is the same one who while the public health chief in New York mayor Bloomberg’s administration came up with the ban on large size soft drink’s.

    Doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in the CDC.

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