Since I don’t know the exact sequence of events (see DallasNews Report) that took place on September 26th when the emergency room at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital failed to take notice of the fact that (an Ebola infected) patient they were treating had only returned very recently from Liberia, I’ll leave it to someone else to go around and shoot the survivors.
Admittedly, ERs are busy, often hectic places, and no response going to be perfect.
But now that we’ve seen two MERS cases walk into American ERs last spring, a fatal H5N1 case hospitalized in Canada last winter, and now this most recent Ebola case, – hospitals, EMS systems, and walk-in clinics in North America (and around the globe) - have to accept the possibility that any one of them could see the next potential `imported case’ of some exotic emerging infectious disease.
The wildfire of nosocomial MERS-CoV infections in Saudi Arabia and the UAE last spring demonstrated just how easily a `normally hard-to-transmit’ virus like MERS can spread in a hospital setting, given half a chance. A pattern very similar to what we saw with SARS in 2003.
Given the growing number of infectious disease threats out there, and our increasingly mobile society, the odds of having to deal with hemorrhagic fevers, avian flus, or some other rarely-seen emerging disease threat in American ERs only grows greater with each passing day.
Updated from its initial release last August (see CDC Releases Additional Interim Ebola Guidance) the CDC released Interim Guidance: EMS Systems & 9-1-1 PSAPs: Management of Patients in the U.S. - Updated October 1, 2014
Also released, a Checklist for Patients Being Evaluated for EVD, US[PDF - 1 page] - October 1, 2014
And a decision-tree algorithm for Evaluating Returned Travelers for EVD, US[PDF - 1 page] - October 1, 2014