Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Why We Wanted To Bring The Ebola Patients To The U.S.

I’m the head nurse at Emory. This is why we wanted to bring the Ebola patients to the U.S.
 
These patients will benefit -- not threaten -- the country.

 

An ambulance arrives with an Ebola victim at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta on Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014. 

A second American infected with the potentially deadly Ebola virus arrived at Emory University Hospital on Tuesday from Africa, following the first patient last weekend. Both were greeted by a team of highly trained physicians and nurses, a specialized isolation unit, extensive media coverage, and a storm of public reaction. People responded viscerally on social media, fearing that we risked spreading Ebola to the United States.

Those fears are unfounded and reflect a lack of knowledge about Ebola and our ability to safely manage and contain it. Emory University Hospital has a unit created specifically for these types of highly infectious patients, and our staff is thoroughly trained in infection control procedures and protocols. But beyond that, the public alarm overlooks the foundational mission of the U.S. medical system. The purpose of any hospital is to care for the ill and advance knowledge about human health. At Emory, our education, research, dedication and focus on quality — essentially everything we do — is in preparation to handle these types of cases.

Further, Americans stand to benefit from what we learn by treating these patients. (Bound by federal law, Emory cannot name the patients. The HIPAA Privacy Rule forbids health-care institutions from releasing identifiable health information.) Ebola won’t become a threat to the general public from their presence in our facility, but the insight we gain by caring for them will prepare us to better treat emergent diseases that may confront the United States in the future. We also can export our new knowledge to treat Ebola globally. This pathogen is part of our world, and if we want eradicate these types of potentially fatal diseases before they reach our shores uncontrolled, we have to contribute to the global research effort. Today, diseases do not stay contained to one city, country or even continent.

For the rest of the story: http://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2014/08/06/im-the-head-nurse-at-emory-this-is-why-we-wanted-to-bring-the-ebola-patients-to-the-u-s/

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