The president of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr. Thomas Frieden and CDC as a whole have come under heavy criticism for saying a “protocol breach” must have been responsible for a hospital nurse contracting the deadly Ebola disease after being part of the team that treated the late Thomas Eric Duncan.
The unnamed nurse started showing symptoms of the Ebola virus not long after the death of Eric Duncan, and this development has raised a lot of questions for the CDC to answer, and in fact a lot of criticism to deal with. Chief among this is the question of hospitals preparedness to handle any Ebola cases, and the adequate training nurses and hospital staff to care for any Ebola patient.
Although it is not very clear if the management of the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, the hospital that treated the late Eric Duncan, adequately prepared its staff to handle Ebola cases or even coached them through simulation drills, a nationwide survey suggests that many hospital staffs and nurses have not been properly coached on how to handle Ebola cases or protect themselves while caring for Ebola patients. Bonnie Castillo, a RN and disaster relief expert at the National Nurses United states that hospitals only “post something on a bulletin board referring workers and nurses to the CDC guidelines. That is not how you drill and practice and become expert (at treating Ebola patients)…We have a system failure. That is what we have to correct.”
CDC is also blamed for suggesting that any US hospitals can handle Ebola cases or treat patients, but the public insists that this is wrong because not every hospital has the expertise or the facility to handle Ebola patients and outbreaks. And according to Dr. Gavin Macgreggor-Skinner, a public health preparedness expert at the Pennsylvania State University “I think that is just wrong. We haven’t provided them with a national training program. We have provided them with the necessary experts that have actually worked in hospitals with Ebola…” and so only designated facilities should handle Ebola cases.
Some health and legal experts maintain that the newly Ebola-infected nurse could be compensated by the hospital management if they have a workers’ compensation insurance. And where the hospital does not have such insurance in place, the infected nurse could sue the hospital under Texas law for compensation – as long as she could prove that the hospital had been negligent in providing the nurses with relevant training and protective gear.
And in better training hospital nurses and staffs to treat Ebola patients while all the while protecting themselves, Sean Kaufman, president of Behavioral-Based Improvement Solutions, the firm that trained healthcare staff at the Atlanta’s Emory University that treated Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, observes that hospital facilities use the buddy system to watch after themselves as they care for Ebola patients.
“Doctors and nurses get lost in patient care. They do things that put themselves at risk because their lens is patient-driven. I suspect no one was watching to make sure the people who were taking care of the patients were taking care of themselves,” most especially as it relates to the correct wearing of protective gloves, gown, mask, eye shield, and how to correctly remove these things after use without infecting yourself in the process of removing them.