It’s quickly become clear that American nurses are facing a serious risk from the arrival of Ebola in the U.S., and that they are being given less than adequate help in how to protect tthemselves while they care for patients. We continue to be amazed and unsettled by these ongoing oquotes and quotations in the news on this developing story:
“I wanted to believe that they would have my back and take care of me, but they just haven’t risen to the occasion.” The hospital’s lack of training or proper equipment, along with violations of my privacy made me “a symbol of corporate neglect — a casualty of a hospital system’s failure to prepare for a known and impending medical crisis.” – Nurse Nina Pham, the first American known to contract Ebola in the U.S. (from treating patient Thomas Duncan at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas), in a Dallas Morning News interview on March 2, 2015 in which she announced she will be suing Texas Health Resources.
“We’re all connected. And our neighbor’s problems are our problems…When we have an opportunity to help, we should.” – Nurse Amber Vinson, after being honored by President Obama at a meeting in Washington. She was one of two nurses who contracted Ebola last September after treating patient Thomas Duncan in Dallas. Both nurses survived the disease.
“It’s been a slow journey to get back to feeling 100 percent, but I think I’m slowly getting back there…Everyday it’s getting back to normalcy, reintegrating my life back to Dallas…Nursing will always be a passion, and whether I go back to bedside or some other form of nursing, I’ll always do something that has to do with helping people.” – Nurse Nina Pham, speaking at the same event in Washington. Like nurse Vinson, she contracted Ebola while treating Thomas Duncan in Dallas.
“The difficult bit is getting decontaminated at the end. To minimize your risk of contamination you undress in a specific way with lots of hand washing between each step. You start by having chlorine sprayed at close quarters all over your body which is not that refreshing once the fumes start wafting into your throat. I’ve learnt (the hard way,) to always shut your mouth when someone if spraying your hood/mask. Failing to do so will lead to immense discomfort, hoarseness and a prolonged cough.” – Nurse Harriet Walton, describing her work fighting Ebola in Sierra Leone, on Exposure, a blog of the Department of Health UK
“I still don’t feel 100%, I feel quite weak, but I’m looking forward to going home…I am definitely going to give aid work a break for a while.” – Scottish nurse Pauline Cafferkey, who contracted Ebola while working for Save The Children in Sierra Leone (quoted on Buzzed.com). Cafferkey’s condition grew worse after she returned to the UK, to the point where she said she had been ready to “give up.” Her treatment included an experimental drug treatment, and the injection of blood plasma from another Ebola survivor.
“a bit chaotic…topsy turvy…” – Dr Martin Deahl, a consultant psychiatrist who travelled back from Sierra Leone with Pauline Cafferkey, a healthcare worker who was diagnosed with Ebola after arriving in Glasgow (quoted on CNN.com). Deahl was describing screening procedures in Heathrow Airport, where he and Ms. Cafferkey landed before carrying on to Glasglow. He added that he found it “bizarre” that other passengers who had been on the same flight into London as he and Cafferkey had been told they were free to make their own way home from Heathrow.
“So many states have started enacting these (quarantine) policies that I think are just completely not evidence-based. They don’t do a good job of balancing the risks and benefits when thinking about taking away an individual’s rights.” – Nurse Kaci Hickox, complaining about the quarantine being enforced on her by the State of Maine, after she returned from treating Ebola patients in West Africa. Ms. Hickox has not shown any symptoms of Ebola.
“I understand how fear spreads. But if I’m a nurse and I have a patient in the hospital, it’s our responsibility as medical professionals to advocate for our patients. Now it’s the medical professionals who are being stigmatized.” – Nurse Kaci Hickox.
“I know that with all the headlines…people are scared. America has never been defined by fear.” – President Obama.
“Nurses are on the front lines 24 hours a day, and it is there skill, their knowledge and their passion for healing that makes the difference in caring for our patients.” – Dr. Bruce Riibner, Director of Emory Hospital Serious Communicable Disease Unit, speaking at a press conference about nurse Amber Vincent’s being discharged after recovering completely from being infected with Ebola (as a result of treating Thomas Duncan at Dallas Presbyterian).
“While this is a day for celebration, I ask that we not lose focus on the thousands of families that continue to labor under this disease in West Africa.” – Nurse Amber Vincent, on her discharge from Emory hospital after being successfully treated for Ebola.
“…to quarantine someone without a better plan in place, without more forethought, is just preposterous.” – New Jersey nurse Kaci Hickox, who has been placed under mandatory quarantine after returning from Sierra Leone, in spite of testing negative for Ebola twice and showing no symptoms.
“U.S. hospitals, doctors and nurses are not prepared to deal with an Ebola outbreak. That was proved when the first case of transmitted Ebola in the US was bungled in Texas. There are truly only 4 hospitals that can handle Ebola the way it’s supposed to be handled, as a Biosafety Level 4 Microbe…For comparison, the Bubonic Plague is a Biosafety Level 3.” – beforeitsnews.com article “Only These 4 Hospitals Are Truly Equipped To Treat Ebola.”
“Suggestions that she ignored any of the physician and government-provided protocals recommended to her are patently untrue and hurtful.” – statement issued by Dr. Thomas Frieden, Director of the CDC, referring to nurse Amber Joy Vinson, one of the two U.S. nurses infected with Ebola.
“There are two elements to trust…one is competence, and one is honesty. The hospital in Dallas changed its story three times…most people know there are very few cases…(but) they don’t know whether they are getting the straight story about it.” – Baruch Fischhoff, professor of decision sciences, Carnegie Mellon University.
“We’ve been lied to in terms of the preparation in the hospitals. We’ve been essentially ignored by the White House and the CDC, and they’ve been giving the hospitals far too much credit in assuming that they would actually be taking their advice.” – RoseAnn DeMoro, Executive Director of the 185,000-member National Nurses United.
“He was in a small room with a closed door, but the same staff that was caring for him was caring for other people at that time and it stayed that way anywhere from three to five hours.” – Nurse Briana Aguirre, speaking of the treatment of Thomas Duncan, who died of Ebola, at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. Aguirre added that she was “horrified” by the incomplete protocols offered to treat Nina Pham, a nurse who contracted the disease from Mr. Duncan.
“If an Ebola patient came in to my unit right now, I wouldn’t know how to take care of the patient, how to protect myself or how to care for other patients…The hospital has told us they have the right equipment, but I don’t know where it is, and I haven’t been trained to use it.” – Talisa Hardin, intensive care nurse at The University of Chicago Medical Center, quoted in the New York Times.
“After two of the nurses who treated Thomas Eric Duncan became sick with Ebola, their colleagues across the state are expressing concerns about preparation for handling Ebola…” – Texas Nurses Association Executive Director Cindy Zolnierek, PhD, RN.
“This is a panic…This isn’t flu or smallpox…As long as nobody kissed the person on the plan, they’re safe.” – Dr. Paul A. Offit, Chief of Infectious Diseases at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
“I don’t think we actually said she could fly, but they didn’t tell her should couldn’t fly…She called us. I really think this one is on us.” – Unidendified federal health official, quoted in the New York Times, on nurse Amber Joy Vincent traveling by okane as she seemed to be showing early symptoms of Ebola. The CDC allegedly not warned against flying because her temperature was only mildly elevated.
“…in fact by putting on more layers of gloves or other protective clothing, it becomes much harder to put them on and much harder to take them off, and the risk of contamination during the process of taking these gloves off gets much higher.” – C.D.C. Director Dr. Thomas Frieden.
“They’re just good people…Her daughter Amber is the sweetest little girl in the world.” – Tara Mosley-Samples, a friend of the family of Amber Vinson, the second American nurse to contract Ebola from treating Thomas Duncan at Dallas Presbyterian, quoted in the New York Times.
“I wish we had put a team like this on the ground the day the patient — the first patient — was diagnosed. That might have prevented this infection.” – Dr. Tom Frieden, CDC head, commenting on a second health worker testing positive for Ebola after treating patient Thomas Duncan at Dallas Presbyterian Hospital.
“Based on statements from nurses it did not identify, the union(National Nurses United) described how Duncan was left in an open area of the emergency room for hours. It said staff treated Duncan for days without the correct protective gear, that hazardous waste was allowed to pile up to the ceiling and safety protocols constantly changed.” – Emily Schmall and Nomaan Merchant, AP, quoted on MSNBC.com.
“I think there are hospitals that are more than ready, but I think there are some that are not.” – Unidentified official “close to” the Ebola situation in Dallas, quoted on CNN.com.
“The Department has no assurance it has sufficient personal protective equipment and antiviral medical countermeasures for a pandemic response.” – August 2014 report by the Department of Homeland Security on it’s own preparedness for a pandemic.
“(What jumps out of the recent white house press conference is) that they are still maintaining that they have this under control and that we all should not worry because it won’t come to a community near them. But the reality is that our survey (of member nurses) clearly shows is that we are not ready in America’s hospitals to deal with any kind of communicable disease of this nature.” – Deborah Burger, RN, Co-President of National Nurses United (NNU), in an MSNBC interview. NNU’s member survey shows that 80% of U.S. nurses say their hospital has not communicated anything to them about how to handle Ebola.
“Essentially any hospital in the country can safely take care of Ebola. You don’t need a special hospital to do it.” – C.D.C. Director Dr. Thomas Frieden at a 10/12/2014 press conference.
“I think it’s very unfortunate that he keeps re-stating that…” – Dr. Gavin Macgregor-Skinner, global projects manager for the Elizabeth R. Griffin Foundation.
“What’s happening now is that our health care system is very fragmented. We have a privatized health care system. If we had a public health care system…we would be in much better shape right now but unfortunately ear have what is in place which is Aetna, Kaiser Sutter and all these other health care providers deciding what they should implement and we think it should be mandatory.” – Deborah Burger, RN, Co-President of National Nurses United (NNU).
“What’s else can we do? If we don’t do it, who will do it for us? So we have to take the risk and care for the patients or else our country will be wiped away.” – Liberian nurse quoted on CNN.com.
Comments on Nina Pham, RN, the first person known to contract Ebola in the U.S., apparently from treating patient Thomas Duncan at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas:
“Kidney dialysis or respiratory intubation were “a desperate measure to try to save his (Ebola patient Thomas Duncan’s) life…Both of those procedures may spread contaminated materials and are considered high-risk procedures.” – Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the CDC, speaking of how Nina Pham, RN may have become infected while treating Duncan at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas.
“I think that she takes it (as) more than a career. I think it’s a vocation, because her family, from the time that we met, they always serve other people.” – Tom Ha, who has known Nina Pham since she was in 8th grade, quoted on CNN.com.
“This individual (nurse Nina Pham) was following full C.D.C. precautions. Gown, glove, mask and shield. We’re very concerned (that she tested positive in spite of all these measures being followed).” – Dr. Daniel Varga, Chief Clinical Offices at Texas Health Resources, overseer of Dallas Presbyterian Hospital.
“Knowing Nina, she’s one of the most meticulous, thorough, effective nurses.” – Jennifer Joseph, nurse who trained under Nina Pham at Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, quoted on KTVT.
“We have heroes that are willing to make sacrifices when no one else will…I know for a fact that she (Nina Pham) would take care of him again.” – Jennifer Joseph.
“We “have not identified a specific problem that led to this infection (of Nina Pham, RN).” – Dr. Thomas Frieden, Director of the C.D.C.
“You know that once this guy is really ill and he’s hospitalized, there’s going to be a lot of contact, manipulation of blood specimens, cleaning up if he’s vomiting or if he’s got diarrhea…You can’t assume that because he’s hospitalized and in this unit that everything is fine…that’s just ludicrous.” – Dr. Joseph McCormick, Regional Dean of the University of Texas School of Public Health in Brownsville, criticizing the C.D.C. for not monitoring workers who death with Ebola casualty Thomas Duncan after he was put into isolation.