2nd Case of Ebola in Dallas; Nurses Decry Hospital

Worker tested positive after reporting fever
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 15, 2014 4:59 AM CDT
Updated Oct 15, 2014 7:48 AM CDT
Texas: Another Hospital Worker Has Ebola
A man walks up the stairway leading to the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas.   (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)

Nurse Nina Pham is no longer the only American to contract Ebola while caring for Thomas Duncan. A second health care worker at Dallas' Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital has tested positive for the virus. The Texas Department of State Health Services says the worker reported a fever yesterday and was immediately isolated at the hospital. A preliminary Ebola test conducted last night came back positive; confirmatory testing will be conducted at the CDC in Atlanta, reports the AP. The Dallas Morning News adds that the new patient's apartment will soon be dealt with by a hazardous-materials team; it's apparently located in an apartment complex whose residents are being given fliers alerting them to the situation. The news comes as nurses allege the hospital was woefully unprepared to deal with Ebola. The latest:

  • Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital nurses anonymously released a slew of allegations yesterday by way of Oakland-based union National Nurses United; the Dallas nurses aren't unionized. They took this approach in hopes of safeguarding their jobs while also being critical of their employer.
  • Among their allegations, which the Los Angeles Times notes are unconfirmed: that Duncan initially spent hours in an area that contained as many as seven other patients. A nurse supervisor who later insisted he be put in isolation "faced stiff resistance from other hospital authorities," they write.
  • They also allege lab samples were mishandled in that they were processed "without being specifically sealed and hand-delivered. The result is that the entire tube system … was potentially contaminated."
  • The nurses also say that after tending to Duncan, they were permitted to "continue normal patient-care duties."
  • They further allege an absence of protocol and say they were instructed to call the infectious disease department with questions—which they say that department couldn't answer. As for protective gear, they say they were given gowns that left their necks exposed.
  • Per the Washington Post, a CDC official did say the hospital's approach to such gear evolved: "They had masks first, then face shields, then the positive-pressure respirator. They added a second pair of gloves."
(More Ebola stories.)

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