Ebola Crisis Update
With the Ebola virus moving into crisis mode, a nurses' union has cataloged a list of failures at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, and President Barack Obama has convened a meeting of his team to coordinate the government's response to the Ebola outbreak.
A second Texas Health Presbyterian nurse, Amber Joy Vinson, tested positive for Ebola on Tuesday, the day after she flew back to Dallas from Cleveland, where she had traveled for the weekend. There were 132 passengers on her October 13 return flight, Frontier Airlines flight 1143, from Cleveland to Dallas-Fort Worth.
Meanwhile, National Nurses United, the nation's largest nurses' union, held a press conference on October 14 to announce a series of protocol failures during the care of the first patient, Thomas Eric Duncan.
The union organized a group phone call in which healthcare workers shared the procedures in an anonymous manner, so that they would not be subject to discipline by their employers.
According to union spokeswoman RoseAnn DeMoro, Duncan was left for hours in the emergency room with up to seven other patients before being put in isolation. Supervisors walked in and out of his room without protective gear. Some of the protective gear left caregivers' heads, necks and lower legs exposed.
DeMoro also said that Duncan's lab specimens were transported through the hospital's pneumatic tube system instead of being handled separately, which potentially contaminated the entire system. Some nurses who treated Duncan were allowed to do other patient care duties even though Duncan produced "copious amounts of diarrhea and vomiting."
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas issued a statement on Wednesday, saying that it is considering moving Vinson to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. Although Vinson was not experiencing symptoms at the time of her flight, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is asking all passengers to call 1-800-CDC-INFO. Among the passengers were three students from Belton.
"After 1 pm EST, public health professionals will begin interviewing passengers about the flight, answering their questions and arranging follow-up," the agency said in a statement. "Individuals who are determined to be at any potential risk will be actively monitored."