Second Healthcare Worker Gets Ebola; Nurses' Union Alleges Lack of Protocols

Source: International Business Times
A second health care worker in the United States has tested positive for the Ebola virus…The Texas Department of State Health Services announced…The patient has become the second person to contract the disease in the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, had assured the American public that the country’s hospitals are equipped to tackle the virus and had blamed a breach of protocol at the Dallas hospital when a nurse tested positive for Ebola last week…
The announcement of the latest Ebola case in the U.S. comes after National Nurses United, a nurses’ union, claimed late Tuesday that the Dallas hospital did not have enough protective measures in place to deal with Ebola patients. The nurses’ union said in a statement that Thomas Eric Duncan, who contracted Ebola in Liberia and died at the Presbyterian Hospital, was left in an open area of the emergency room for hours while nurses treated him without proper protection, Associated Press, or AP, reported.
The statement released by the union also added that Duncan’s lab samples were allowed to travel through pneumatic tubes, which risked the virus contaminating the specimen delivery system. The nurses also added that hazardous waste was also allowed to pile up in the facility. “There was no advance preparedness on what to do with the patient, there was no protocol, there was no system,” Deborah Burger of National Nurses United, said, according to AP, adding: “Hospital managers have assured nurses that proper equipment has been ordered but it has not arrived yet.”
Wendell Watson, a spokesperson for the Presbyterian Hospital where the latest Ebola case is being treated, did not comment on the nurses’ allegations, but said that the hospital had not received other similar complaints. “Patient and employee safety is our greatest priority and we take compliance very seriously,” Watson said in a statement, according to AP, adding: “We have numerous measures in place to provide a safe working environment, including mandatory annual training and a 24/7 hotline and other mechanisms that allow for anonymous reporting.”
According to the CDC, 76 people at the Presbyterian Hospital may have been exposed to Duncan after his second visit to the emergency room, while 48 more people, who may have been exposed before he was hospitalized, are being monitored.

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