Wednesday Open Thread


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?

New York Daily News, Anita Sarkeesian cancels Utah State lecture amid threats of ‘Montreal Massacre-’styled attacks.

Deadspin, The Future Of The Culture Wars Is Here, And It’s Gamergate.

MSNBC, Supreme Court saves Texas abortion access, for now.

Nate Silver, The Polls Might Be Skewed Against Democrats — Or Republicans., Exclusive Poll: Nunn leads Senate race by 3%.

Capital OTC, Remains of Iron Age chariot discovered by Leicester students.

What else is happening? Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread, and enjoy your Wednesday.

47 Comments on “Wednesday Open Thread”

  1. Delphyne49 says:

    Hope you all are feeling better soon!!

  2. bostonboomer says:

    President Barack Obama is postponing a campaign trip to New Jersey and Connecticut to meet with advisers Wednesday afternoon to discuss the government’s response to the Ebola outbreak, the White House said.

    Obama had been slated to visit Union, N.J., for a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee fundraiser before traveling to Bridgeport, Conn., for a campaign rally with Gov. Dannel Malloy.

    For more information…

  3. Boo Radly says:

    JJ and BB – get better fast! Kat – so sorry for your loss and hope you get some time away. Ebloa may very well expose our third world medical system for what it is. Obama sure did
    not make it that way. – think ‘tort reform’ and ALEC and medical being so profitable if harmed or killed patients are over looked, bad drugs used and medical devises from hell – billions and billions made. It’s not all medical care givers but they do no speak up so as to keep their positions. All Federal Agencies are corrupt – there is no patient safety accountability – zero.

    • gregoryp says:

      The concept of making a profit off of others people’s misery is just repugnant to me whether that be health care, weapons, charities, etc. Some things clearly belong in the public domain. Health care being the primary one.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Frankly, I do my very best to stay away from doctors. Once they get ahold of you, they start finding things to test you for.

      • NW Luna says:

        Not all of us are test-happy. I don’t want to have people scanned, poked, or biopsied unless there’s a really good reason.

  4. bostonboomer says:

    New Ebola patient to be transferred to Atlanta

    She’s going to Emory U. hospital. Maybe now that the danger has crossed state lines, the CDC will be in control. I hope so!

    • NW Luna says:

      Bet she’s really glad she’s not staying at the hospital where she got infected.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        You know she is relieved…And for those of us who’ve been following the West Africa Ebola outbreak all I can say is HOW in the world were they not prepared for Ebola? I wasn’t at all surprised that the virus made it to our shores through transcontinental travel. Disasters don’t just happen to other countries and other people, they happen to everyone who lives in a global economy.

        As for the Hospital in Dallas all I have to say is clusterfuck. They fumbled this from the time Mr. Duncan presented in their ER until he died in their isolation room. I DO NOT blame the nurses, I blame the administration of that hospital for not expecting to see Ebola and preparing their staff for it.

  5. bostonboomer says:

    Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson to address news of Ebola patient at Cleveland Hopkins Airport (LIVE COVERAGE)

    Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and other city officials will hold a news conference this afternoon to address the revelation that a Texas woman with Ebola passed through Cleveland Hopkins International Airport two days ago en route to Dallas.

    The woman, a healthcare worker, may have been contagious at the time, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the airline. The CDC is now working to notify the 132 passengers on the flight — Flight 1143.

    The woman was visiting family in Akron from Oct. 8 to Oct. 13, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

    • gregoryp says:

      This appears to be straight out of one of those crazy science fiction movies where the virus gets transported everywhere by contagious people who don’t realize they are infected. In this case I am just perplexed by how the hospital staff that came in contact with Mr. Duncan weren’t isolated. We are truly governed by idiots especially here in Texas.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Why one of the people being “monitored” was allowed to travel I will never understand. The administrator of that hospital sounds like a complete moron.

        • NW Luna says:

          Administrators are usually morons when it comes to clinical matters. They just don’t understand that patients are not nice little standardized widgets on a production line. Now maybe it’s bad enough that clinicians warning they can’t increase “productivity” without decreasing quality of care gets listened to.

          A Seattle-area EMT reported that they don’t have adequate equipment or training for Ebola. (Seattle Times article behind paywall) The ambulance company said that protective gear was “on order” and that info on Ebola was “on the company’s website.” Appalling.

          • bostonboomer says:

            I was really surprised to learn that there’s no Boston hospital that is prepared to deal with this. We supposedly have some of the best hospitals in the world. I hope they get up to speed quickly.

  6. bostonboomer says:

    Second Ebola diagnosis confirmed by CDC.

  7. janicen says:

    Gosh, bb. A stomach virus right after a head cold. Hope you feel better soon. I’m finally feeling better after a week on antibiotics. I went to the gym and handed my membership key tag to the receptionist. Usually they take it and scan it under a scanner but this time rather than touch it, she picked up the scanner and passed it over the tag. Apparently there are a bunch of bugs going around. Hope all three of you are up and around soon.

    What has happened to those nurses is criminal and I hope that charges are brought against the administrators and decision makers at that hospital. If that’s not criminal negligence I don’t know what is.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Actually, I’m not really over the cold; so I guess my resistance is low. I’m glad you are feeling better!

  8. NW Luna says:

    That Iraq chemical weapons story is alarming. All those soldiers who got exposed — and we know there were more than what was reported. Damn Bush & Cheney.

  9. NW Luna says:

    BB, that’s a fascinating story on the U of Leicester students’ find of the Iron Age chariot!

    • NW Luna says:

      The U of L is the same university whose team found Richard III’s grave near the site of the Battle of Bosworth Field. They sure have good luck in their archeological finds.

  10. Fannie says:

    Hope you are all starting to feel better. Kick you feet up and take it easy.

  11. dakinikat says:

    Evidently Canada is planning on developing an alternative to the Keystone pipeline and the shale oil phenomenon may be short lived.

  12. ANonOMouse says:

    Thank U for the post BB, I hope you and JJ feel better soon and that Dak finds peace and comfort in her family and friends.

  13. Thank you for posting this BB, I am finally feeling like the meds are starting to work…but damn the bronchitis is bad. Have y’all seen this picture? BBC News – Girl meets Hillary Clinton, freaks out

    of course the comments are shit.

    but the other images are great.

  14. RalphB says:

    How did those nurses get infected? This is probably why. They didn’t have a chance. That hospital administration should be fired and then shunned now!

    Dallas Morning News: Presbyterian workers wore no hazmat suits for two days while treating Ebola patient

    • bostonboomer says:

      OMG, it just keeps getting worse and worse.

    • NW Luna says:

      Guy on the left in that photo is NOT properly garbed –he’s got bare skin exposed. It’s too easy to get a minute splash drop from projectile vomiting on skin — if minute break, say from shaving or whatever, or you later after doffing gear rub that area and then rub your eyes — entry into the body.

      The entire hospital administrative layer should be air-dropped into Liberia to help clean clinics. Then they’d understand.

  15. RalphB says:

    Wendy should have been running tough ads like this the whole race,,,

    Houston Chronicle: Davis defends wheelchair ad as ‘incredibly effective’

    AUSTIN — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis on Wednesday defended her latest TV ad as “incredibly effective” during another appearance with disabled supporters that suggests she’s not shying away from the controversial commercial.

    Asked whether she viewed the 30-second spot before her campaign released it, Davis told reporters after the campaign event here: “I saw the ad and I stand by the ad. The ad serves a single purpose, and it is to call Greg Abbott out for his hypocrisy.”

    Davis’ remarks came after she met with about two dozen supporters, some of them in wheelchairs, who were eating lunch at Guero’s Taco Bar in Austin. She had a sympathetic audience as she went table to table to discuss disability issues and, inevitably, the commercial.

    “We love the ad, by the way. Everything is right on,” Dave Dauber, a host of a public-access TV show for disabled people, told Davis, who replied that her campaign always tries to be “very, very accurate” with what it puts on TV.