How many times has the public heard in the past few weeks that the United States has procedures in place to make sure that ebola doesn’t get out of control?
We would like to believe that the procedures work and will protect us. Safeguards, emphasis on “safe,” right?
But just as sure as the sun will rise, someone doesn’t do their job and Boom! the disease is off and running through the public.
Public health officials in Dallas and across the country should be hoping and praying today that the worst-case scenario didn’t just happen.
The Washington Post has reported that the Dallas hospital where the United States’ first confirmed case of ebola is being treated actually saw the patient two days earlier and released him even though he told hospital personnel that he had traveled to Texas from Liberia, which is experiencing an ebola epidemic.
The patient, who is reported as Thomas Duncan, was experiencing symptoms during the two days between initially being released and being readmitted. That is the time when ebola is most contagious.
Mark C. Lester, executive vice president of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, said Duncan told a nurse that he had traveled to Liberia, but that information was not shared with everybody who saw him. Consequently, Duncan was diagnosed as having a run-of-the-mill viral illness.
Yahoo News is reporting that two days later, Duncan was seen “vomiting wildly” outside his apartment building as emergency medical personnel tried to get him inside an ambulance.
As a result, Duncan’s family is being told not to leave their home for two weeks. At least 80 other people are being monitored in the Dallas area.
Meanwhile, panicked parents pulled their children from school as word got out that at least five children had contact with the ebola patient.
Airlines are reported to be desperately trying to find hundreds of customers who may have had contact with Duncan. Just this morning, there are possible cases of ebola reported in hospitals as far apart as Queens, NY, and Hawaii.
United Airlines has released a statement saying that Duncan took Flight 951 from Brussels Airport to Washington Dulles International Airport, then Flight 822 to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. A third plane he took has not been identified by the airline, but CBS reported it was likely Brussels Airlines Flight 1247.
Officials all up and down the line, from doctors at the hospital to Gov. Rick Perry and the Centers for Disease Control, all are assuring the public there’s nothing to worry about.
Funny how much that sounds like exactly what they were saying before somebody let Patient Zero walk out of the hospital while he was contagious.
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