Friday, October 3, 2014

More on Ebola

For some reason, the people who travel outside of the Ebola hot zone, that is Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, are complete assholes. Duncan who fled to the US, slept with his girlfriend here even though he was sick and knew what he probably had. When he was finally admitted to the hospital, his "family" here refused to remain under quarantine until the sheriff arrived and pointed a gun at these crazies. Also, consider the account of Patrick Sawyer, the man who went to Nigeria and led to the deaths of many people including the doctor who cared for him. This lunatic laid on the floor of the airport squirming in pain, and collapsed when he got into Nigeria. There he acted like a madman after being told that he may have Ebola, took off his pants and started urinating on the medical staff.  Meanwhile crazy Liberians tried to get him out of the hospital for God only knows what reasons. Furthermore, there is an account of some prominent Liberian doctor strolling into an Ebola treatment center without any protection and proclaiming that there is no such thing as Ebola. He died several days later of it.

Perhaps there is something about this virus that turns people into dangerous madmen, or perhaps we are just hearing about the dangers of Ebola stricken madmen because the normal victims of this illness die in peace and isolation. We will be hearing a lot about such cases in the coming weeks and months. 

On the home-front, we are totally unprepared for this illness. I am certain that at this point someone is walking about NYC with this virus and spreading it to others.  Duncan is not the only jerk in this country with this illness.  Doctors are scarred, especially ED docs because there is no proper screening and no place for isolation in the emergency rooms. In the first several days with symptoms, it is impossible to distinguish Ebola from any other virus causing gastroenteritis. If we do suspect someone as having Ebola, how do we isolate him from the rest of the hospital? Sure we have isolation rooms, but we have never dealt with such a deadly virus before. The bio-hazard suits are nice but they need to be put on somewhere safe and removed someplace safe. I don't know of any hospital in NYC that has a decontamination area set up in a ward. In most circumstances, people will put on protective clothing and remove them in a busy hallway, following which foot traffic will spread whatever was on the floor of the isolation room to the rest of the hospital ward floor. 

The center of our inadequate response is that many people are simply going through the motions of doing something that is needed to protect us. That happens at the level of ill trained hospital workers, and it happens at multiple levels of the administration. The talking heads from Washington, the CDC and other government agencies are speaking nonsense because for much of their lives all they ever had to do is pretend.  The truth is that they do not know what they are doing, and if you ask one to do something, they will only posture.  That is all they are capable of. The people they have surrounded themselves with are often times no better. That is why Obamacare was such a fiasco, our economy is failing, and even the secret service has become a joke.  And yet, we depend on these people for our lives and our livelihood. 

All in all, sad and frightening.


Rose said...

It is terrible. I thought hospitals had set up protocols to identify potential problems from the outset. To learn that this hospital in Dallas failed to use those protocols - and even when the guy TOLD THEM he'd come from Liberia, they didn't let the rest of the staff/doctors know, and worse, sent the guy home - it's unfathomable. Look at how they put all their co-workers lives at risk.

Compounding this - once he came BACK to the hospital with full-blown manifestation of the disease - his family members were left IN the infested and uncleaned apartment. Left in an apartment filled with bodily fluids, sweat on the sheets, diarrhea, vomit.... not only no guys in hazmat suits in there to sterilize the place, but they're quarantined IN that apartment, not brought to an isolation unit themselves, when they're likely to need it, having been fully exposed to the ebola virus. (I didn't know he had slept with his girlfriend, but it makes sense that he did, God help her. And her kids)

THEN, Red Cross workers deliver food, without masks or any protective gear. City workers clean up the vomit on the sidewalk with pressure hoses. No hazmat suits, no CDC, no bleach, no disinfectant, they blast the stuff all over its new environment. Ebola has now jumped continents. It's encountering a whole new set of ecosystems. If ever it was going to mutate, this is it.

And no one seems to care.

Dustin Hoffman, where are you?

Anonymous said...