Thanks to Kelly Hills for tweeting the link to this article in Forbes.com: Should We Be Concerned About American Ebola Patients Coming To Emory Hospital? Excerpt:
The question arises as to why these patients are being transported to the U.S. if there is no current treatment for Ebola infections beyond supportive care.
Ribner said that the patients will receive the aggressive care afforded to any individual with a potentially lethal bacterial or viral infection.
Beyond the strict isolation environment, the patients will receive treatment to support their blood pressure, support of their respiration, including mechanical ventilation, if necessary, and dialysis if they are suffering from kidney failure. The medical approach is to manage bodily functions and “keep them alive long enough,” while the body’s defenses attempt to control the infection.
Dr. Ribner noted that supportive care still makes a greater difference when offered in an institution such as Emory.
“When you see estimates of 60% and 80% mortality, realize that this is occurring in a health care system that does not operate as our healthcare system functions,” said Ribner.
Based on conversations with physicians who have cared for patients in those environments, Ribner said, ”If these patients had the level of medical support that we are prepared to offer, the mortality rates would be much less.”
But the two patients might benefit from experimental treatments. Ribner said, “We are currently in discussion with FDA, NIH, and subject experts at the CDC, but don’t yet know the experimental protocols that might be available to them. These won’t be done without their involvement and informed consent.”
Ebola not “some magical, mystical pathogen”
A member of the press asked Dr. Ribner about the fears of Americans (including Donald Trump on Twitter) in bringing patients infected with Ebolavirus to the U.S for the first time. Ribner stressed that Ebola is not spread by some magical mechanism.
“We are not talking about some mystical pathogen but something that is spread in a way that we are used to. We use those precautions on a daily basis,” said Ribner.
In an earlier discussion with CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., said, “Ebola is a virus that can be stopped and not spread in hospitals. The stakes are higher but it’s easily inactivated with typical hospital disinfectants.”