Nurses are scared. They don’t think the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has their back on fighting Ebola.
On Sunday,a spokeswoman for the National Nurses United, the country’s largest professional association of nurses, and other industry experts began speaking out, demanding that hazardous-material suits be provided at all hospitals around the country. They are calling for mandatory intensive training for hospital staff on how to handle contamination protocol, Reuters reported.
“I’m angry about this,” National Nurses United Executive Director RoseAnn DeMoro said, according to the New York Times. “We want the first line of defense to be the most prepared. Our hospitals are resisting us. The CDC doesn’t say that we need hazmat suits. If this doesn’t change dramatically, we will picket every hospital in this country if we have to.”
Particularly offensive, according to reports, were the remarks made Sunday by CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
Frieden told the country that the nurse in Dallas who contracted the deadly disease from “patient zero,” the first case of Ebola diagnosed in the U.S., did so due to a “breach of protocol, ‘ a claim that puts the responsibility on the nurse, according to one public health expert.
“I think that is just wrong,” Dr. Gavin Macgregor-Skinner, an expert on public health preparedness at Pennsylvania State University said. “We haven’t provided them with a national training program. We haven’t provided them with the necessary experts that have actually worked in hospitals with Ebola.”
Possibly the most disturbing news is that professionals and the CDC don’t even agree on a clear plan for a possible large-scale outbreak .
Some experts also question the CDC’s assertion that any U.S. hospital should be prepared to treat an Ebola patient as the outbreak ravaging West Africa begins to spread globally. Given the level of training required to do the job safely, U.S. health authorities should consider designating a hospital in each region as the go-to facility for Ebola, they said.
“You don’t scapegoat and blame when you have a disease outbreak,” said Bonnie Castillo, a registered nurse and a disaster relief expert at National Nurses United, which serves as both a union and a professional association for U.S. nurses. “We have a system failure. That is what we have to correct.”
In a White House statement, President Obama ordered the CDC’s ” investigation into the apparent breach in infection control protocols at the Dallas hospital move as expeditiously as possible.”
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