The Shocking Truth: The U.S. Medical System Is Woefully Unprepared for Ebola

We Need to Stop Pretending We’re Prepared … and Actually Get Prepared

Government spokesmen and mainstream talking heads keep saying that Ebola is no threat to the U.S., because our medical system is thoroughly prepared.

However, Reuters notes that American nurses say they are not prepared for Ebola:

Nurses, the frontline care providers in U.S. hospitals, say they are untrained and unprepared to handle patients arriving in their hospital emergency departments infected with Ebola.

***

A survey by National Nurses United of some 400 nurses in more than 200 hospitals in 25 states found that more than half (60 percent) said their hospital is not prepared to handle patients with Ebola, and more than 80 percent said their hospital has not communicated to them any policy regarding potential admission of patients infected by Ebola.

Another 30 percent said their hospital has insufficient supplies of eye protection and fluid-resistant gowns.

CBS News reports:

U.S. hospitals and health care workers …  say the staff at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas were unprepared to handle the patient — and that this is likely the case at hospitals throughout the country.

Bonnie Castillo, director of the Registered Nurses Response Network, part of the nurses union National Nurses United, said a majority of union members surveyed say their employers haven’t offered appropriate training to deal with an Ebola outbreak.

***

85 percent said they were not provided any type of formal education to prepare for Ebola patients.

Betsy McCaughey, Ph.D. – former Lt. Governor of New York – writes at Fox News:

Most hospitals in the U.S. lack the rigor and discipline to control Ebola. That’s why common infectious diseases such as MRSA and C. diff are racing through these hospitals, killing an estimated 75,000 patients every year. Ebola is even deadlier. Yet the CDC has done little to equip hospitals, other than send around memos.

Indeed:

  • As Dr. Sanjay Gupta notes, there have been severe lapses in safety at the Centers for Disease Control and U.S. hospitals in treating infectious diseases

“CDC continues to work with reduced financial resources, which similarly affects state, local, and insular public health departments. … These losses make it difficult for state and local health departments to continue to expand their preparedness capabilities, instead forcing them to focus on maintaining their current capabilities.”

  • The CDC report also notes that state and local public health departments on the front lines of any health emergency have shed 45,700 jobs since the 2008 financial crisis (at the same time, hospital staffs are being reduced nationwide.)
  • In 2010, the Obama administration scrapped CDC’s quarantine regulations aimed at Ebola
  • The Department of Homeland Security inspector general issued a scathing report in September warning the department was woefully unprepared for a pandemic

In addition:

  • Two national experts on the spread of infectious disease say that Ebola can spread through aerosols – so healthcare workers should wear protective respirators – but government officials refuse to even consider the possibility.  In any event, the virus is mutating (and see this), so an overly cavalier attitude is not productive

It’s time to stop pretending we’re prepared. It’s long past time we actually became prepared.

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  • kimyo

    also, dozens of hospitals have been closed or downsized in the u.s. over the last decade.

  • sam

    Someone brought up, “…Most hospitals in the U.S. lack the rigor and discipline to control Ebola. That’s why common infectious diseases such as MRSA and C. diff are racing through these hospitals, killing an estimated 75,000 patients every year.”

    I don’t believe the main problem with the spread of c. diff and MRSA is any lack of rigor on the part of the staff as much as a decision on the part of hospital management to not staff in such a way that these isolation cases can be adequately treated. So, most isolation cases get handled by nurses who also have other non-infected patients. It’s likely that in the hustle of trying to get all their work done, isolation techniques fail. It’s easy to blame the nursing staff for being lax when it’s the hospitals that require infected people be bunched together with non-infected.

    I wonder if this is a common problem in other countries with National Health services?

  • Americans are frightened people.

  • Old Wolf

    If ebola gets loose and uncontrolled in the US, the hospitals will be useless. They are marginal as it is, long wait times for emergency entry, and triage would necessarily be brutal. They cannot handle a plague of epidemic proportions, they do not have the facilities or doctors. Localized emergencies overwhelm them in many cases. IN most populations, if 5% of the population were affected, the hospitals would be full, but by that time, given the incubation period of the disease, it would be everywhere.
    Due to fear, it is likely many bodies will be left unburied, cases left unreported due to fear of government or fear of neighbors, and it then spreads further.
    Ebola Marburg showed that typical medical procedures were insufficient. Zaire showed that it could survive considerably more brutal conditions when being cleaned up after several hot days in a sealed room with bleach. Reston showed the filiovirus could be airborne and survive chlorine dioxide sterilization in situ. They finally had to destroy the building in 1995.
    We do not have sufficient medical facilities for the casualties, nor do we have sufficient storage facilities for the bodies, and given the nature of human behavior, some would, upon discovering themselves with the disease, engage in the nihilistic response to spread it as wide as possible to take as many as they could with them.
    Maybe that’s the reason the boders are porous… and there are so many coffin liners on standby.

    • jadan

      When our for-profit hospitals fail, maybe Cuba will send us some health workers like they are doing for W. Africa? They have dispatched 300 and have promised 300 more!

  • I’m sure the super-rich are prepared for Ebola, much like ahead of the anthrax inside job attacks, elite politicians were given CIPRO BEFORE the anthrax attacks (proving FOREKNOWLEDGE) by Bush/Cheney/neocons.

    First sentence on CSPAN: “THIS IS ANOTHER GOOD EXAMPLE OF HOW CERTAIN PEOPLE CONSIDER TO BE ABOVE THE REST OF US”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2YrHpB64ac

  • jadan

    Ebola is the deadly disease du jour, but flu-like diseases are nasty, too, requiring special handling. Are hospitals prepared for flu? No. US hospitals are for-profit institutions ruled by the bottom line not a mandate to serve the public welfare. A hospital spokesman said recently, on condition of anonymity: “If you want us to prepare for Ebola, PAY US a multi-billion dollar surcharge. Otherwise, fuck you!”

  • kimyo

    i just realized something: people who have recovered from ebola will be perfectly healthy and able pass any airport screening. however, they are still shedding the virus, possibly for weeks. their waste products will contain the virus. if they get a non-ebola flu-like disease, their sneezes/coughs/vomit might well contain live ebola virus.

    just saying that the farce of airport screening should be abandoned, it offers absolutely no protection, it’s fixing the wrong problem.

  • tate matson

    The dates below list the progression of AUTISM–and the media lies–black males are not victims to of the MMR vaccine–this is targeted at the WHITES

    40 years ago–ZERO cases of autism–or it was so rare no one documented it.

    20 years ago–1 in 100,000

    Today–1 in 50

    GOOGLE: MIT MMR AUTISM STUDY

    20 years from now–1 in 2. “white” people are NO MORE………YES white people are becoming extinct–it now makes sense why unaccompanied children were being brought into our nation–whites are not reproducing at NO WHERE NEAR the numbers they were just 10 years ago–in the 70s we were still healthy and growing first part of the 80’s population growth crashed–then the Jew’s pushed through immigration law changes to allow many more people in–from then to now–we have been shrinking–prior to this–all throughout history our numbers were growing!!!! And our numbers are mirrored in EUROPE and CANADA–and they are all being flooded with immigrants to mask–the genocide that the people who call themselves Jews–and YES American blacks–are committing GENOCIDE—-this is a fact–I am starting to come to terms with it–you will experience disbelief–you will then transition to RAGE–then a cold calm will spread across you–pass this on–verify for yourself–but this is happening………Basically the JEWS and Blacks need to get the fuck out of our nations and never come back!!! I would get a plane ticket now……..

    • kimyo

      a textbook #4. let’s honor william thompson is to be commended for his courage to come forward and reveal vaccine safety data falsification. perhaps he wasn’t quite as honorable, but he’s certainly just as brave as sibel edmonds, edward snowden and carmen segarra.

      washington’s blog should offer dr thompson the chance to post here.