CDC re-evaluating safety procedures after nurse contracts Ebola
Thomas Frieden, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, announced that the agency will look again at the protocols for hospitals to see if more training or equipment is necessary to protect health care workers and the public.
The New York Times: C.D.C. Rethinking Methods To Stop Spread Of Ebola
The transmission of the Ebola virus to a nurse here forced the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday to reconsider its approach to containing the disease, with state and federal officials re-examining whether equipment and procedures were adequate or too loosely followed, and whether more decontamination steps are necessary when health workers leave isolation units (Fernandez, Tavernise and Fausset, 10/13).
The Washington Post: CDC Chief: After Dallas Nurse’s Ebola Infection, U.S. Must 'Rethink' Protocols
Frieden did not detail precisely how the extensive, government-issued safety protocols in place at many facilities might need to change or in what ways hospitals need to ramp up training for front-line doctors or nurses. But his message was clear: With Ebola, there is no margin for error. The Dallas case made that certain. Federal, state and local health officials on Monday raced to investigate how Nina Pham, a nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, became infected with Ebola. A 2010 graduate of Texas Christian University's nursing program, she was part of the team that treated Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian man who succumbed to the virus Wednesday after more than a week at the hospital (Nutt, Berman and Dennis, 10/13).
Los Angeles Times: Error In Dallas May Have Exposed Others To Ebola, CDC Chief Says
The second case of Ebola diagnosed in this country came after American officials had insisted for weeks there was a minuscule chance of the virus penetrating the U.S. healthcare system. The case raised questions on several fronts: the preparedness of medical facilities to handle Ebola patients properly; the funding available for hospitals to ready themselves for pandemics; the policy of allowing people from the hardest-hit African nations to enter the United States (Hennessy-Fiske and Susman, 10/13).
The Wall Street Journal: Ebola Response Strains Hospitals
As the Ebola epidemic in West Africa expands, more cases could require treatment at U.S. hospitals far from the specialized centers that have handled patients so far. But the challenges even these medical centers have encountered show the steep learning curve others face. Treating Ebola takes money, space, aggressive care and obsessive vigilance to prevent doctors and nurses from getting infected, say infectious disease doctors at such specialized hospitals in Atlanta and Omaha, Neb. Also important is extreme diplomacy in dealing with suppliers and contractors, which have balked at handling blood samples, soiled linens and hospital waste out of fear of the virus, the hospitals say (McKay and Loftus, 10/13).
The New York Times: Questions Rise On Preparations At Hospitals To Deal With Ebola
Federal health officials have offered repeated assurances that most American hospitals can safely treat Ebola, but Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, which had years of preparation for just such a crisis, found out how hard that is while it cared for three Ebola patients. As doctors and nurses there worked to keep desperately ill patients alive in August, the county threatened to disconnect Emory from sewer lines if Ebola wastes went down the drain. The company that hauled medical trash to the incinerator refused to take anything used on an Ebola patient unless it was sterilized first. Couriers would not drive the patients' blood samples a few blocks away for testing at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And pizza places would not deliver to staff members in any part of the hospital (Grady, 10/13).
NPR: U.S. Hospitals Redouble Efforts To Prep For Ebola
Another Ebola infection in Dallas has raised some concern among nurses and other health workers in hospitals around the country who worry they may not be equipped to deal with the crisis (Aubrey, 10/13).
Two outlets explore the political and economic impact of Ebola -
The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire: New Ad Blames GOP For Limiting Ebola Research
The Agenda Project Action Fund, a progressive group organized as a 501(c)(4) under the tax code, posted a new ad Sunday that places sound bites of Republican senators, such as Mitch McConnell, Pat Roberts and Rand Paul, calling for budget cuts, and juxtaposes them with health officials saying cuts have hurt the U.S.’s ability to fight infectious disease. ... Critics counter that health agencies have huge budgets, and they could have redeployed funds from less pressing projects to protect core programs if they felt there was an urgent need (Andrews, 10/13).
CBS News: What About Ebola’s Impact On Insurers?
Along with all the concerns regarding the ongoing Ebola epidemic, here's one many people probably haven't considered: What about health care and life insurance costs if the disease were to become widespread in the U.S.? Some estimates put the costs of treating Thomas Eric Duncan, the uninsured Liberian national who was hospitalized in Dallas for Ebola and who died there earlier this month, around $1,000 an hour, or close to $500,000 overall (Kennedy, 10/14).
Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent news service. It is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health-care-policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.