Wednesday Open ThreadPosted: October 15, 2014
Hello, Sky Dancers!
This will be a quick post. All three of us bloggers are under the weather. JJ has bronchitis, I was up all night with a stomach virus, and Dakinikat is understandably overwhelmed with family issues.
So here we go . . . .
The sh** has really hit the fan down in Dallas. Last night, a group named National Nurses United held a press call in which they revealed that, for the nurses who cared for Ebola patient at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, “there were no protocols” for dealing with the highly infectious disease. From CNN:
“The protocols that should have been in place in Dallas were not in place, and that those protocols are not in place anywhere in the United States as far as we can tell,” National Nurses United Executive Director RoseAnn DeMoro said. “We’re deeply alarmed.”
CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta said the claims, if true, are “startling.” Some of them, he said, could be “important when it comes to possible other infections.”
Some of the complaints made by anonymous nurses to National Nurses United:
On the day that Thomas Eric Duncan was admitted to the hospital with possible Ebola symptoms, he was “left for several hours, not in isolation, in an area where other patients were present,” union co-president Deborah Burger said.
Up to seven other patients were present in that area, the nurses said, according to the union.
A nursing supervisor faced resistance from hospital authorities when the supervisor demanded that Duncan be moved to an isolation unit, the nurses said, according to the union.
Nurses were given protective gear that didn’t cover their necks, and when they complained they were told to wrap medical tape around their necks.
“There was no one to pick up hazardous waste as it piled to the ceiling,” Burger said. “They did not have access to proper supplies.”
“There was no mandate for nurses to attend training,” Burger said, though they did receive an e-mail about a hospital seminar on Ebola…
According to DeMoro, the nurses were upset after authorities appeared to blame nurse Nina Pham, who has contracted Ebola, for not following protocols.
“This nurse was being blamed for not following protocols that did not exist. … The nurses in that hospital were very angry, and they decided to contact us,” DeMoro said.
And they’re worried conditions at the hospital “may lead to infection of other nurses and patients,” Burger said.
And today this headline tops the news: Second Health Care Worker Tests Positive for Ebola. CNN reports:
A second health care worker at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital who cared for Thomas Eric Duncan has tested positive for Ebola, health officials said Wednesday – casting further doubt on the hospital’s ability to handle Ebola and protect employees.
The worker reported a fever Tuesday and was immediately isolated, health department spokeswoman Carrie Williams said.
The preliminary Ebola test was done late Tuesday at the state public health laboratory in Austin, and the results came back around midnight. A second test will be conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
It gets worse. CNN again: 2nd U.S. health worker with Ebola flew the day before symptoms.
The second Dallas health care worker with Ebola was on a flight from Cleveland to Dallas on Monday — the day before she reported symptoms, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday. Because of the proximity in time between the Monday evening flight and the first report of her illness, the CDC wants to interview all 132 passengers on her flight — Frontier Airlines Flight 1143 from Cleveland to Dallas/Fort Worth, which landed at 8:16 p.m. CT Monday, the CDC said.
The worker, a woman who lives alone, was quickly moved into isolation at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, authorities said Wednesday.
The news cast further doubt on the hospital’s ability to handle Ebola and protect employees. It’s the same hospital that initially sent Thomas Eric Duncan home, even though he had a fever and had traveled from West Africa. By the time he returned to the hospital, his symptoms had worsened. He died while being treated by medical staff, including the two women who have now contracted the disease.
Get this: hospital administrators are still claiming they have everything under control.
“I don’t think we have a systematic institutional problem,” Dr. Daniel Varga, chief clinical officer of Texas Health Resources, told reporters Wednesday, facing questions about the hospital’s actions.
Medical staff “may have done some things differently with the benefit of what we know today,” he said, adding, “no one wants to get this right more than our hospital.”
Is that so? Well, you know the old saying, “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.” According to Vargas, 75 health care workers are still being monitored for symptoms.
The most recent Ebola case has just now been identified as 26-year-old Amber Vinson, according to USA Today.
Vinson, who was described as living alone without pets in a Dallas apartment, was identified by Martha Schuler, the mother of Vinson’s former stepfather, WFAA-TV reports.
Vinson was among the workers at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas who helped care for Ebola patient Thomas Duncan, who died of the virus in October.
At an early morning news conference, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said he could not rule out more cases among 75 other hospital staffers who cared for Duncan and were being monitored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We are preparing contingencies for more and that is a real possibility,” Jenkins said.
In other news,
It seems there were some weapons of mass destruction in Iraq after all, and the Pentagon covered it up. The New York Times broke the story last night: The Secret Casualties of Iraq’s Abandoned Chemical Weapons.
The soldiers at the blast crater sensed something was wrong.
It was August 2008 near Taji, Iraq. They had just exploded a stack of old Iraqi artillery shells buried beside a murky lake. The blast, part of an effort to destroy munitions that could be used in makeshift bombs, uncovered more shells.
Two technicians assigned to dispose of munitions stepped into the hole. Lake water seeped in. One of them, Specialist Andrew T. Goldman, noticed a pungent odor, something, he said, he had never smelled before.
He lifted a shell. Oily paste oozed from a crack. “That doesn’t look like pond water,” said his team leader, Staff Sgt. Eric J. Duling.
The specialist swabbed the shell with chemical detection paper. It turned red — indicating sulfur mustard, the chemical warfare agent designed to burn a victim’s airway, skin and eyes.
All three men recall an awkward pause. Then Sergeant Duling gave an order: “Get the hell out.” ….
From 2004 to 2011, American and American-trained Iraqi troops repeatedly encountered, and on at least six occasions were wounded by, chemical weapons remaining from years earlier in Saddam Hussein’s rule.
In all, American troops secretly reported finding roughly 5,000 chemical warheads, shells or aviation bombs, according to interviews with dozens of participants, Iraqi and American officials, and heavily redacted intelligence documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.
Read the whole depressing thing at the link.
Here’s the Washington Post’s take on the Times’ story: Pentagon ‘suppressed’ finds of chemical weapons in Iraq and related U.S. casualties.
These were not the “weapons of mass destruction” the George W. Bush administration used to justify invading Iraq in 2003. Rather, the Times said, the troops were injured when they stumbled across old, often corroded shells and warheads procured for use in the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s.
The weapons were not the military threat to the United States described by the Bush administration. But the deadly sarin and mustard gas agents troops found were potent enough to cause injury, the paper reported. Unaware of the munitions’ content — which sometimes spilled on to their clothes and skin — as many as 17 soldiers were exposed, and some received haphazard, inadequate medical care.
The Times story suggests the Pentagon suppressed information about the chemical weapons because of the injuries, because it would have highlighted the massive intelligence failure surrounding the war and because the weapons were “built in close collaboration with the West.”
“The American government withheld word about its discoveries even from troops it sent into harm’s way and from military doctors,” wrote C.J. Chivers. “The government’s secrecy, victims and participants said, prevented troops in some of the war’s most dangerous jobs from receiving proper medical care and official recognition of their wounds.”
A few more stories that might be of interest, links only:
Christian Science Monitor, Michelle Obama viral turnip video: Will it sell healthy food?
11Alive.com, Exclusive Poll: Nunn leads Senate race by 3%.
What else is happening? Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread, and enjoy your Wednesday.