There’s a funny thing about viruses, such as Ebola. Just because there is an outbreak going on right now, that doesn’t mean that the disease won’t be seen at other times. Knowing that, as every health professional should, there are common signs that should indicate rather a care facility should look further ino the complaints of a patient. For example, you got a patient in with a 103 degree fever, nausea and flu like symptoms, you might think it was just the flu. But when the patient informs you that they just traveled from Liberia, then those red flags should turn into all caps, followed by “OMG” and “WTF”. It doesn’t matter if there is an outbreak or not. Just the simple fact that they are sick like this, and have recently come from a foreign country, is a big indicator to anyone in the medical field.
And those symptoms I listed above? Those are the EXACT ones Duncan presented with. At any point in time, if he came to an ER with those symptoms, plus a recent travel history from Africa, a hospital should admit them for testing, regardless of it’s in the middle of an outbreak or not. This is the most basic of medical training, all the way from first responders up to surgeons.
Knowing all that, the blame many are trying to put on the CDC for this is a total red herring. The CDC can’t staff and be in all 5200 hospitals in this nation, and if they tried, governors like Rick Perry would scream about “big government”. The real control over Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital lies with the state of Texas and their governor, Rick Perry. And the failure in the front lines of the Ebola outbreak, or any other potential outbreak of any disease known to man, must be answered for. Why hasn’t the media asked why Rick Perry had the phone off the hook when he got that 3am call?
But the reality is that our media is so focused on “ohhh gotcha” against Obama, that they are willing to overlook this egregious failure by the Texas medical system, so that they can stoke fear and outrage. That is all misplaced though. The real fear and outrage should be directed at the failure of the hospital. Yeah it so happens it was in Texas, but this could happen in anyone of our 5200 hospitals around the country.
It’s time for a real reason that Duncan wasn’t admitted to be found. There have been made up excuses, like “it was a problem in our electronic records”, which of course many people hear that and think “OBAMACARE!”, but when the truth came out, the records were fine. It also should not have been left up to medical records. The triage nurse who took Duncan’s history and vitals should have immediately called for a doctor. This man was showing the signs of something contagious and coupled with a travel history, something quiet possible exotic. You do not leave a patient like that sitting in a triage error, where the general public is walking around. You get them out of the public area, ASAP, and you get a doctor there, double ASAP.
Now we have two points of failure. The first is the person that did the triage, and the second is the doctor who said “discharge him”. Both should be held accountable, and we should find out if this decision may have been made for some financial reasons. If so, then whoever made that decision must face charges for public endangerment.
If we don’t want to end up like Africa, with a major outbreak, then let’s take politics and our own hatred out of the current situation and examine everything that failed. Sure the CDC made mistakes, but mistakes were made before that by the hospital, and people just seem to be giving them a pass. That’s enough to make me scared of an outbreak of any disease.