Nurses at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas are making some scandalous accusations about how the facility treated the first Ebola case in the United States.
On Tuesday, several anonymous nurses spoke to reporters in a conference call organized by National Nurses United and complained that the hospital’s sloppy Ebola protocols left workers and hospital systems prone to contamination. One nurse said Thomas Eric Duncan, the first Ebola patient diagnosed in the United States, languished for hours in a room with other patients upon arrival and that officials resisted isolating him. “Oh, you’re coming from Liberia and your temperature is 103? Well just sit over here in this crowded waiting room for a few hours!”
Others accused the hospital of providing nurses with flimsy protective gear while they were dealing with Duncan’s highly contagious blood, vomit, and feces. Plus, Duncan’s lab samples were sent through the hospital’s pneumatic tubes, which nurses say could’ve contaminated the entire system.
Based on this testimony, it was no surprise when the Texas Department of State Health Services confirmed Wednesday that a second health-care worker who treated Duncan has tested positive for Ebola.
The latest infected nurse reported a fever on Tuesday and was immediately isolated – but not before she flew to Cleveland and back. Although this was the day before she felt sick and people with Ebola are not contagious until they exhibit symptoms, the CDC wants to contact all 132 passengers “because of the proximity in time between the evening flight and first report of illness.”
CDC Director Thomas Frieden said that the nurse should not have been traveling on a commercial airline (no kidding) and admitted that the Dallas hospital was still learning how to cope with the Ebola crisis (again, no kidding).
“I wish we had put a [rapid response team] on the ground the day the first patient was diagnosed,” Frieden said. “That might have prevented this infection.”
The infected health-care worker will soon be transferred from the Dallas hospital to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, because clearly Dallas didn’t handle the first case all too well.
On a lighter Ebola note, yelling “I have Ebola” on a plane can lead to trouble of the “I have a bomb” variety. A man on a US Airways flight from Philadelphia to the Dominican Republic reportedly sneezed and joked that he had Ebola. Big mistake. Flight attendants reported the incident and when the plane landed, passengers were told to stay on the plane as crews in hazmat suits came onto the aircraft and whisked away the Ebola joker despite his insistence that “I ain’t from Africa!”