The latest outbreak of Ebola in central Africa is looking more and more dangerous. It’s proving very hard to contain, because it’s in the middle of a “hot” conflict zone, and medical teams can’t move around safely.
Aesop has some trenchant thoughts on the subject. Here’s an excerpt.
Hospitals here … are utterly, completely, and massively unprepared to deal with this, as the Dallas example proved in about 21 days, and neither they nor the CDC wants to talk honestly about this.
Neither you, I, nor 2M other RNs nor 1M doctors has the slightest effing CLUE about dealing with this (unless they volunteered in West Africa in 2014) and come the day, they’re going to make simple mistakes that’ll get them dead, along with thousands to millions of their patients.
The suiting up and decon process takes half an hour each coming and going, requires scrupulous attention to detail at every step, unless you want to die, the gear is hot, a lot hotter than most people can work in for more than a couple of hours, and a “simple” pee break requires the entire 30 minute decon, then another 30 minutes to re-suit. It takes two people who do nothing but suit you up, and another who does nothing but monitor you peeling out of it without effing up and killing yourself. So imagine with me a staffing ratio of four people for every one person who can actually render bedside treatment. And you think the nursing shortage is bad now?
Bear in mind the age of the average nurse in the US is something like 50 years old, not 21 or 22. So you’ll have people old enough to be retirees in the military, in the equivalent of MOPP Level IV, which is hotter than hell even in an air-conditioned room, sweating like a pigs, and doing everything through a fogged up facepiece and two layers of gloves, in a rubber suit, with a virus that only has to get lucky once, with delirious feverish patients oozing blood from every orifice onto everything, and coughing a miasma of bloody sputum into the air. Yeah, that should work.
And then, tell me how many CNAs, EMTs, and PCTs are going to risk their lives for $10-15/hr.?
In someone’s effing dreams, baby; hospitals will become ghost towns, just like Texas Health in Dallas did. In minutes and hours, not days. You’ll have patients and staff going out the fire escapes and jumping down laundry chutes, mark my words.
. . .
Canada has zero BL-IV beds, AFAIK. But hey, free health care! Just like in Ebola clinics in the African bush. Should work out great for them.
Mexico has…wait, you’re shitting me, right? Mexico has what you’d expect Mexico to have: a corrupt government, and an overabundance of expendable and illiterate peones. No points for guessing who’ll handle clean-up there. Then take the disease home to papi y los niños, Tío Juan and Tía Julietta, y los viejos. Who will cheerfully and unknowingly spread it to all their friends, and pretty soon, you solved the immigration problem by erasing everyone from Tijuana to Tierra del Fuego, except maybe some lucky isolated Indians in the deep Amazon rainforest. ¡Viva!
. . .
In 2014, we had TEN cases here.
We were two Ebola patients away from swamping the lifeboats, and turning any other hospital into Texas Health Presbyterian, which was Tier One disasterpiece theater. They exposed thousands of people, unwittingly. They had the infected guy in once, misdiagnosed it totally, and sent him home. They didn’t catch on until he was brought in again in total collapse, and after throwing the entire best the first world had to offer at him, he died anyways. And infected a perfect R-naught of 2 additional victims. Only fate, or a benevolent deity, kept that incident from turning Dallas in[to] Freetown, Liberia in about two weeks, and wiping out their whole ER shift staff that night. Poorly protected clean-up crews in Dallas were pressure-washing the guy’s vomit – live, active virus – onto everything within yards of his apartment in suburban Dallas, the day after it happened. Because illegal aliens with a fourth-grade education are the front line in that clean-up, hired by companies with no more sense than God gave a jackass about Hazmat gear, or proper Ebola precautions. In NYFC, they were handling stuff with no PPE whatsoever. Hand to God on that.
Sleep tight, America.
Anyone in health care who isn’t concerned whenever Ebola crops up, simply and respectfully doesn’t know what the hell they’re talking about.
There’s much more at the link. Pungent, profane, and to the point. Highly recommended reading.
I might add, from a personal preparedness point of view, that this scenario is the ultimate justification for having a couple of months’ worth of food stored at home, along with enough essentials to get you through that period without leaving the house. Self-quarantining your entire family until the worst is over might be the only viable option, if this disease breaks loose in your city. Even that won’t be foolproof, but it’ll be a lot better than going out and risking infection.