A statement from National Nurses United on the treatment of Dallas Ebola patient said that “nurses were asked to call the Infectious Disease Department” to learn the policies on how to treat Duncan.
The statement, which was played in its entirety on CNN on Wednesday morning, also reports that Ebola training at the hospital was “optional,” “nurses have been left to train each other,” and that nurses who interacted with Duncan simply continued treating other patients.
According to the statement, “there was no advanced preparedness on what to do with the patient. There was no protocol, there was no system. The nurses were asked to call the Infectious Disease Department. The Infectious Disease Department did not have clear policies to provide either.”
The union added that “advanced preparation that had been done by the hospital primarily consisted of e-mailing us about one optional lecture or seminar on Ebola. There was no mandate for nurses to attend training or what nurses had to do in the event of arrival of a patient with Ebola-like symptoms.” And “there was no hands-on training on the use of personal protective equipment for Ebola, no training on the symptoms to look for, no training on what questions to ask.”
The statement further says that trainings that took place after Duncan was diagnosed were “limited,” and did not include training on how to avoid contamination for all nurses. The union says “nurses have been left to train each other. Nurses have substantial concern that these conditions may very well lead to further infections of nurses or other patients.”
The union also claims that staff and other patients who came into contact with Duncan were not properly isolated “nurses had to interact with Mr. Duncan with whatever protective equipment was available at the time when he had copious amounts of diarrhea and vomiting, which produces a lot of contagious fluids. Hospital officials allowed nurses who interacted with Mr. Duncan to then continue normal patient care duties, taking care of other patients, even though they had not had the proper personal protective equipment while providing care for Mr. Duncan, that was later recommended by the CDC,” and hallways were not kept properly clean according to the statement.
Also, “patients who may have been exposed were one day kept in strict isolation units. The next day they were ordered to be transferred out of strict isolation and into areas where other patients, even those with low-grade fevers who could potentially be contagious.”
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