There is controversy over the management of the three cases reported in the United States and its health care system is on trial along with the administration.
The mismanagement of the Ebola crisis in the United States and an analysis of patient errors have highlighted the weaknesses of its health care system, which appeared completely unprepared to deal with an emergency that now threatens to become even more serious.
As a result of these errors, Obama has come under fire. What a paradox. Of all the Western leaders, Obama is the one that has been the most concerned about the virus when it first broke out in Africa. Now he is being criticized at home and accused of not having done everything possible to prevent an Ebola outbreak on American territory.
Obama has appointed a special commissioner in his government to manage this thorny issue. This is none other than Ron Klain, former chief of staff to Vice Presidents Al Gore and Joe Biden.
After the death of patient zero, who had been hospitalized at the same Dallas hospital where two nurses were infected with the virus, the fear of the spread of the virus has become Americans’ number one fear, to the point of obsession.
Obama must contend with a plummeting public approval rate caused by the crisis. The Ebola czar, as the media are calling Klain, will determine the shortcomings of the system and address them as soon as possible.
The list of errors is astounding. Let’s start with the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, the hospital Thomas Eric Duncan, patient zero, visited when he first started experiencing symptoms. The doctors who examined him gave the wrong diagnosis and refused to admit him. The fact that he had just arrived in the United States from Liberia should have aroused suspicion among the medical personal working at the hospital.
Instead, Duncan was sent home and was only admitted when he went back to the hospital complaining of more symptoms. Unfortunately, it was already too late.
The other errors concern the two nurses, Nina Pham and Amber Vinson. They were probably infected because they followed the guidelines set out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the federal government agency that is responsible for the prevention of infectious diseases.
An expert discovered that there were some staggering shortcomings in the CDC’s guidelines concerning protective measures against Ebola. For example, it is not written that the neck, like other parts of the body, should be protected to prevent infection. Although these shortcomings were reported repeatedly, the agency did nothing to address the problems.
The worst mistakes made by the hospital are concerning Amber Vinson, the second nurse. The hospitals’ errors here are so serious that others could have been exposed to the virus. First, Vinson had telephoned the CDC to report that she had a low-grade fever and to ask whether or not it was safe to fly from Cleveland to Dallas.
The official that took her call at the CDC gave her the green light to fly because her body temperature did not exceed 100.4 F. According to the CDC and their guidelines set out for Ebola, anything above that should set off alarm bells. Given the fact that Vinson was one of two nurses that was in contact with the only person who died from the virus on American soil, the CDC’s response was rather uncompromising.
This is how it came to be that Vinson boarded a flight with 131 passengers on board. Now the federal agency is contacting passengers who flew in the same plane to verify their health status. Is this all there is to it? Obviously there is more. It has been discovered that Vinson already had symptoms of Ebola during the outward flight to Cleveland. The CDC did not know this because Vinson did not call seeking advice at this time, as she later would do before her return flight home.
Perhaps it is the last mistake that is the most absurd. Amber Vinson was moved to Atlanta to a specialized treatment center. There was a man aboard the plane without any protective gear who was probably an official from the CDC.
CBS showed footage that depicts this man boarding the plane with four other health professionals and the patient at Dallas airport. He is not wearing any protective gear and is seen in close contact with the nurse. So he boarded the plane to accompany them to the airport in Atlanta. It is true that Vinson was completely covered in protective gear. Why was this man wearing no protective gear?
This is the series of mistakes made by the health care system. Now many fear the consequences of these actions.