|Ebola virus (source: Legal Insurrection)|
Following up on Charlie Foxtrot's piece on Ebola and civilization, I have a few more thoughts to add.
I'll start off by being blunt: I have little-to-no faith in the various responses we're hearing or the powers-that-be from whom we're hearing them.
(This became a bit of a rant, so I'm hiding the rest below the fold. You have been warned.)
Second, how on God's green Earth does a medical professional "follow all protocols" regarding highly-infectious diseases, and still get sick? It's a rhetorical question; to anyone with any sense, it's no mystery. Given that the protocols exist to KEEP the disease contained, either:
- The protocols weren't followed, or;
- The protocols are inadequate.
|Ebola-care, by A.F. Branco, courtesy of Legal Insurrection|
The nurses' union, National Nurses United, is leveling a number of claims against the hospital, in response to their seemingly-lackadaisical regard to worker safety when dealing a CDC-designated Class 4 pathogen. For reference Hepatitis B is a Class 2, and HIV is a Class 3.
CDC Director Tom Frieden (M.D.) has done a lot of press conferences lately, giving similar statements repeatedly, and being proven repeatedly wrong by events. He's told us that Ebola will be easy to contain, that "We [the CDC] know how to stop Ebola"* and don't need to impose travel restrictions to/from West Africa — because that would be racist — and then prove they can't stop or contain it.
Note: I'm not saying we necessarily should impose travel restrictions. I'm just saying the option should be on the table.
|Grim, by A.F. Branco, courtesy of Legal Insurrection|
More recently, Dr. Frieden has back-tracked, saying "We have to rethink the way we address Ebola control," (Gee, y'think?!) and laying out a new plan focusing on proper management and training for hands-on care providers.
Left unsaid thus far: why those plans weren't developed and in place BEFORE people with Ebola were transported to American hospitals.
This isn't the only case of back-tracking by the CDC, either, nor even the only case involving Ebola on U.S. soil. The second nurse who tested positive for Ebola got the OK from the CDC to board a plane from Cleveland to Dallas, about which (surprise!) they later said she shouldn't have flown. A little late, there, Skippy.**
The President tries to reassure us that it's all safe, that he's shaken hands with and hugged medical staff — but not the doctors — at Emory University Hospital and he's not worried. That's fine for him; Emory University is a top-notch facility designed to handle Class 4 pathogens, where every staff member is trained and equipped to treat patients with as little risk of exposure as possible. Every. Single. Staff member.
However, the Texas Health Presbyterian hospital, where Thomas Eric Duncan died and where Nina Pham and Amber Vinson work, is NOT designed to contain a Class 4 pathogen like Ebola, and their employees apparently are NOT trained or equipped to treat Ebola patients safely. No disrespect, but THP is the junior varsity squad to Emory University's varsity team, and this is what happens when you treat Ebola like a JV virus.
(As an aside, we had a small Ebola scare at the closest hospital to here. They handled it well, I think — isolated the patient and determined the symptoms didn't match up — but it pulled an inordinate number of staff members away from other duties to isolate, contain, and investigate. I fear that if a real Ebola case hit here, EVERYTHING else would be dropped or brushed aside. Because Ebola.)
As if we didn't have enough to worry about, Matt Bracken — author of excellent dystopian fiction novels such as "Enemies Foreign and Domestic" and "Castigo Cay" — wrote up a hypothetical over at Western Rifle Shooters, When Ferguson Meets Ebola. It's a good question: What will happen when store owners and public workers refuse or are unable to come to work to sell goods or otherwise provide for the welfare of already-riled-up mobs of "unarmed teenagers"? What will happen when police, fire, and EMT services are unavailable because those workers are also staying home?
Finally, because I don't want to end this on a complete downer, here's a Grumpy Cat picture for you, also via Western Rifle Shooters:
|Somehow, I feel I can trust Grumpy Cat over the CDC.|
Carry on. Stay safe out there.
* - Another, off-topic quote from that article, "When a wildfire breaks out we don't fence it off." Ummm... yes, they do. What do you suppose he thinks they mean when they say a wildfire is "X% contained"? Apparently he's never heard of building firelines or "back-firing" to remove fuel sources ahead of a wildfire, thereby allowing it to burn itself out. Who hired this guy?
** - Today, CBS This Morning, talking about the CDC and Dr. Frieden and the public's distrust of anything Dr. Frieden says, produced possibly the most head-smacking moment I've had in a long time: (paraphrased) "After he's back-tracked his statements a number of times, people don't want to trust him. Any wonder why that is?" Now, most of us learned this in kindergarten, but when someone states a "fact", and then has to repeatedly back-track and revise their "facts", they probably have no idea what they're talking about. When an "expert" does this, the natural, logical reaction is to question their "expert" status. "Any wonder", indeed.