Nurses union survey finds US hospitals widely unprepared for Ebola

The bland reassurances of US officials, from President Obama and Dr. Frieden of the CDC on down, that the US is fully prepared to keep the “highly unlikely” spread of Ebola in check, are falling on deaf ears among some nurses. Rob Crilly of the UK Telegraph:

A survey by the National Nurses United union across 31 states found 80 per cent of respondents said their hospital had no Ebola admissions policy and 30 per cent said they lacked proper protective equipment.

Apparently the bungling and miscommunication that happened when the Dallas hospital initially released Thomas Eric Duncan could happen elsewhere:

Nurses across the country have been approaching hospital managers asking for training and advice on how best to protect themselves and their families from an outbreak that has killed more than 3,000 people in West Africa.

"The Texas case is a perfect example," Micker Samios, a triage nurse in the emergency department at Medstar Washington Hospital Center, the largest hospital in the nation's capital, told Reuters.

"In addition to not being prepared, there was a flaw in diagnostics as well as communication."

I do not know how likely Ebola is to be a threat domestically, and suspect there are elements of panic in the public reaction.  But I do know that public health officials, up to and including the president, face a crisis of confidence. President Obama has used up his credibility on Ebola, specifically, not to mention many other areas of public concern.

Should Ebola prove to be far more communicable than we are being reassured, the reckless statements already on the record will make the ensuing panic worse.

The bland reassurances of US officials, from President Obama and Dr. Frieden of the CDC on down, that the US is fully prepared to keep the “highly unlikely” spread of Ebola in check, are falling on deaf ears among some nurses. Rob Crilly of the UK Telegraph:

A survey by the National Nurses United union across 31 states found 80 per cent of respondents said their hospital had no Ebola admissions policy and 30 per cent said they lacked proper protective equipment.

Apparently the bungling and miscommunication that happened when the Dallas hospital initially released Thomas Eric Duncan could happen elsewhere:

Nurses across the country have been approaching hospital managers asking for training and advice on how best to protect themselves and their families from an outbreak that has killed more than 3,000 people in West Africa.

"The Texas case is a perfect example," Micker Samios, a triage nurse in the emergency department at Medstar Washington Hospital Center, the largest hospital in the nation's capital, told Reuters.

"In addition to not being prepared, there was a flaw in diagnostics as well as communication."

I do not know how likely Ebola is to be a threat domestically, and suspect there are elements of panic in the public reaction.  But I do know that public health officials, up to and including the president, face a crisis of confidence. President Obama has used up his credibility on Ebola, specifically, not to mention many other areas of public concern.

Should Ebola prove to be far more communicable than we are being reassured, the reckless statements already on the record will make the ensuing panic worse.