Via The New York Times: Hospitals in the U.S. Get Ready for Ebola. Excerpt:
Hospitals nationwide are hustling to prepare for the first traveler from West Africa who arrives in the emergency room with symptoms of infection with the Ebola virus.
Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has said such a case is inevitable in the United States, and the agency this month issued the first extensive guidelines for hospitals on how recognize and treat Ebola patients.
The recommendations touch on everything from the safe handling of lab specimens to effective isolation of suspected Ebola patients. But one piece of advice in particular has roused opposition from worried hospital administrators.
The C.D.C. says that health care workers treating Ebola patients need only wear gloves, a fluid-resistant gown, eye protection and a face mask to prevent becoming infected with the virus. That is a far cry from the head-to-toe “moon suits” doctors, nurses and aides have been seeing on television reports about the outbreak.
Some hospital officials are skeptical of the new advice. “It’s not going to be enough for my health care workers to feel comfortable going into an isolation room,” said Peggy Thompson, the director of infection prevention at Tampa General Hospital.
If a suspected Ebola patient arrives at her hospital, Ms. Thompson intends to outfit staff members in fluid-resistant jumpsuits with bootees, taped seams and hoods. They cost about $175 per dozen. She has not decided how many to order.
Faced with “copious amounts” of vomit or diarrhea, the C.D.C. acknowledges that leg coverings or double gloving might also be needed.
But, “We don’t always know when a patient is going to vomit,” Ms. Thompson, a former nurse, pointed out. “You get into that situation quickly, so you better go into the room prepared for that exposure.”