Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Virginia Hospital Center did refuse to admit potential Ebola patient

The story about the woman who was sick at a Pentagon parking lot and suspected of being an Ebola victim has almost disappeared down the memory hole. It was all a mix-up. Forget it, Jake. It's Ebolatown.

I had, and still have, questions. Previously I asked, "Why was she not admitted to the Virginia Hospital Center ... and admitted to Fairfax Inova? Did VHC have no vacancies for potential Ebola patients?"

Today we learn, from a site called ARLnow (the ARL stands for Arlington county, I presume):
Virginia Hospital Center refused to admit the potential Ebola patient from the Pentagon on Friday, according to county officials, despite the hospital saying two weeks earlier that it was ready to handle such patients.

Responding to an inquiry from ARLnow.com today, the Arlington County Fire Department confirmed reports that VHC refused the woman — who at the time was thought to potentially have the deadly Ebola virus — when medics brought her to the hospital. She never left the ambulance.
The explanation was also reported on the news at WMAL, Washington's conservative talk radio station.

If VHC was unable to deal effectively with an Ebola case, and Fairfax Inova was, I can't blame VHC for sending her on -- after all, meeting the patient's needs comes first. According to the ARLnow story, though: "Earlier this month ... VHC told TV station WUSA 9 that it was ready to deal with potential Ebola patients."

You also have to factor in that two weeks ago VHC was following the CDC protocols, which seem to have been inadequate in Dallas. Maybe VHC genuinely thought it was prepared earlier, and now believed it wasn't. On the other hand, it would have been a crushing blow to VHC's "business" to have a patient who turned out to have Ebola virus.

The article added:
Arlington County officials also have confirmed that the patient had not traveled to West Africa, as she allegedly first told authorities. In fact, she had not left the country at all, the county said, and had no contact with other potentially infected people.

“She had stated that she had traveled to Sierra Leone at the scene and did exhibit symptoms consistent with Ebola, so responders took all appropriate steps,” said Diana Sun, Arlington County’s Director of Communications. “There was an investigative process that went beyond Arlington. During the course of this, people close to the patient were interviewed and stated that she had not left the country. The patient herself, later in the afternoon, recanted her story and said that she had not left the country. When that last piece came in, public health officials felt confident in not pursuing” further testing for the Ebola virus.
Who investigated the woman's story? Who determined that the case was closed? Why would she claim to have been in Sierra Leone? She was reported to work at a Washington public relations agency, so while she may have been accustomed to being economical with the truth, probably she was not psychotic.

What disturbs me most is the apparent lack of curiosity on the part of the mainstream media. No one, except this independent ARLnow site, seems to have had any interest in following the story further, despite its puzzling aspects.

I'm not recommending we get hysterical over possible Ebola cases. But that's no reason to take them casually, either. If you think you can handle it, look at the photos of Ebola victims at Google Images. Too much for me; I closed the page as soon as I found the photo of the virus at the head of this posting.


YIH said...

Anonymous YIH said...

(newer post) "Earlier this month ... VHC told TV station WUSA 9 that it was ready to deal with potential Ebola patients."
That was hospital press flack talking to TV standup, nothing new.
In VHC: Honcho sends out email ''To all department heads: Meeting, conference room A 2pm - MANDATORY''
At meeting: ''OK, we've seen the whole comedy of errors over in Dallas. What if THAT shows up here? Same time tomorrow, we'll meet here and I want the straight facts''.
Next day: ''You said you wanted the straight scoop? Here it is; we don't have adequate training, supplies, or facilities to isolate and deal with ONE 0bola case - and if it's more than one we're screwed''.
The typical US hospital is designed to handle 'normal' patients - like you. 0bola is a whole different ball game, it needs special handling. VHC is no more ready than Dallas was.
You're fortunate, if it's 0bola, there's a place for it: Reston. Texas (or Florida) doesn't have that option.
The next 0bola case that shows up at a random ER is going to be medical Keystone Cops again, but at least Dallas showed us what not to do.

YIH said...

After posting that I read this:
“Dr. Profeta, do we have enough protective stuff and does everyone know how to use it?”
“Are the screening plans in place?”
“Yeah, ya betcha.”
“Is the staff versed in transmission and spread of Ebola?”
“Darn tooten.”
“Has everyone read all the CDC and hospital communiqu├ęs regarding Ebola?”
“Sure have.”
“Have you practiced the drills in the ER in case we have someone show up with a possible exposure?”
“More times than Lois Lerner has hit her hard drive with a hammer.”

But if they were to ask me if there are any other issues they should be aware of, I’ll just stare with round blank eyes and keep my mouth shut until the right question is asked; the question they will pretend does not exist.
“Dr. Profeta, will they – the staff, you, your partners – show up? “
“That, I don’t know.”
Read the whole thing.
Still wondering why 0bama didn't halt travel from the 0bola ''hot zone''?
To encourage more ''help the poor suffering Africans'' do-gooders to do just that.

“Dr. Profeta, will they – the staff, you, your partners – show up? “
“That, I don’t know.”