That a Dallas nurse contracted the Ebola virus as she was caring for the Liberian man who was diagnosed and later died from an Ebola infection is a safety mishap that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is not taking lightly.
That’s why on Tuesday, the CDC announced new protocols that it would take whenever it received word that a patient in the U.S. had tested positive for the virus.
“CDC officials, responding earlier to the broader criticisms about their handling of the Ebola cases in Dallas, pledged to dispatch within hours a newly created response team to any hospital that had a confirmed case of Ebola, and they increased the amount of expertise, oversight and training at the hospital where the nurse treating Thomas Eric Duncan, 42, who had Ebola, became infected,” the New York Times reports.
A nurses union in Dallas fired off a statement to the press on Tuesday expressing concern about how the Dallas incident was handled. Nina Pham, a 26-year-old nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, contracted Ebola during her contact with Duncan.
“Were the protocols breached?” Deborah Burger, a co-president of the National Nurses United union, asked as she read the statement. “The nurses say there were no protocols.”
The Texas hospital said that it would review the concerns raised by the nurses.
The CDC dispatched a team of experts to the Texas hospital to make sure health and safety protocols were established and being followed. However, CDC officials lamented that they did not send health officials to the hospital sooner.
“I wish we had put a team like this on the ground the day the patient, the first patient, was diagnosed,” Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, director of the CDC, said at a news conference Tuesday.
“That might have prevented this infection,” he continued. “But we will do that from today onward with any case, anywhere in the U.S.”
There are 76 health care workers who came into contact with Duncan from the day he was admitted to the hospital Sept. 28. They are all being heavily screened by federal health officials.
Read more at the New York Times.