For a flesh-eater that has so far affected about as many U.S. citizens as shark attacks this year, the Ebola virus sure has people shaken up. Maybe not so much for what it is, but for what it implies, and what — if anything — has been or is being done to stop it. Right at the center of the questions surrounding those implications is Texas Health Presbyterian hospital in Dallas — and it just got even more so.
This morning, a nurse from that hospital by the name of Briana Aguirre sat down with Matt Lauer on Today to blow the whistle on how woefully unprepared (both materially and procedural) her hospital is to handle an outbreak like this. Texas Presbyterian was the place where Patient Zero, a Liberian national named Thomas Duncan, went to be treated for a fever and sickness last week. The hospital sent him home with antibiotics. He returned three days later desperately ill, and died on Wednesday.
Two of the nurses who treated him, Amber Vinson and Nina Pham, have since been diagnosed with the virus. The hospital sprang into action, complying with CDC guidelines by issuing Tyvek jumper suits and masks. Protocols demanded the suits cover the whole body, and medical personnel were instructed to wear three layers of gloves.
However, according to this morning’s interview, the suits left a gaping, three-inch hole of directly exposed flesh from the chin almost all the way down to the collarbone. You can watch the video for yourself below, but here are the salient points:
- Aguirre “flipped out,” and was told to cover the gap with one-inch strips of tape.
- She contacted the hospital Vice-President and asked for better suits, but he never returned her phone call.
- She says Ebola was not discussed, and no special prior to Patient Zero’s arrival, and there was no special training for handling procedures.
- She says that if she suspected she had contracted Ebola, she would avoid going to her own hospital for fear that if she hadn’t already contracted it, she would contract it at the hospital.
You can see the rest in the interview below: