Monday, October 06, 2014


More Ebola news from the BBC:
The Spanish health minister has confirmed that a nurse who treated a victim of Ebola in Madrid has tested positive for the disease.

The nurse is said to be the first person in the current outbreak known to have contracted Ebola outside Africa.

Health Minister Ana Mato said the woman was part of the team that treated Spanish priest Manuel Garcia Viejo, who died of the virus on 25 September....

Manuel Garcia Viejo died in the hospital Carlos III de Madrid after catching Ebola in Sierra Leone....
According to The Guardian, some Spanish health care workers warned at the time of an earlier repatriation of an infected missionary that Spain might not be ready for Ebola because of austerity-linked health-care cutbacks:
In August, 75-year-old Spanish missionary Miguel Pajares died in Madrid after being repatriated from Liberia five days earlier. He was the first patient in the current, fast-spreading outbreak to be evacuated to Europe for treatment.

Pajares' repatriation to Madrid prompted concern among health professionals who said that Spanish hospitals were not adequately equipped to handle the Ebola outbreak. Amyts, a trade union that represents physicians, called the repatriation risky, and its president, Daniel Bernabeu, asked Spanish news agency Efe if "anyone could guarantee 100% that the virus wouldn’t escape".

Bernabeu compared Spain to the US and pointed out that the Americans had 10 hospitals with the highest level of biosafety possible. Spain, in contrast, had just one suitable hospital, with biosafety levels that were much lower.
Here's more from an August story in The Local, an English-language news site focused on Spain:
... medical groups have criticized the "improvised" and "rushed" preparations for Pajares's arrival, saying facilities weren't ready and staff are unprepared.

"Even the choice of which hospital to use was a problem," Amelia Batanero with Madrid's Independent Health Workers Union (AME) told The Local.

"Initially, the health ministry was looking at Madrid's La Paz hospital where a couple of false-positive Ebola results were seen earlier this year. Instead they chose the smaller Carlos III hospital, where it is easier to isolate someone, and which has quarantine facilities."

But, as Batanero explained, there was a stumbling block. The ministry actually began stripping facilities from Carlos III last year, with many patients being sent across to La Paz. The hospital is also short of staff.

"It's not the hospital it used to be," said the spokesperson for the union which has grown out of opposition to cuts to Spain's health sector as part of the government's austerity drive....

Of more concern to AME's Batanero, however, is the lack of staff training when it comes to Ebola.

"... hospital staff are not adequately trained to deal with Ebola -- partly because of cuts to Spain's health system. In fact, they are being given accelerated courses right now.

"All it takes is one health worker or a cleaner to make a mistake with the isolation protocols and you have a public health problem."

To make matters worse, because the Carlos III hospital is actually short-staffed, doctors and nurses from La Paz hospital will also be doing shifts at the hospital.

"This means there is always a risk, however small, that they will expose healthy patients at La Paz to the Ebola virus," said Batanero....
I don't know what happened in Spain, but there was concern. Maybe austerity was at fault -- or maybe health-care workers inevitably have trouble following an unfamiliar set of procedures without error the first time they're faced with Ebola. We certainly saw that in America.


Victor said...

Austerity can also affect other things, like the amount of money an organization has to spend, and forces then to prioritize, so that it can make them look to cut back on things like training.

And not just emergency training, but in ordinary training - there are fewer, less thorough, and less informative training sessions.

It's more than sad.
It's pathetic.

Philo Vaihinger said...

A straw in the wind.

Aunt Snow said...

I heard on the radio that this nurse had contact with the dying priest exactly twice - once when she treated him and once after he dies when she removed his belongings from the room. I also heard/read somewhere that the most dangerous moment for health-care professionals is when they are removing their protective clothing . This would make sense - they're protected by the clothing, but I guess if you are not careful, you'd make contact with the outer part of the protection suit once you disrobe.

Steve M. said...

Workers at the hospital think their protective gear is unsafe.

I have my doubts about those gloves sealed off with duct tape -- how do you remove them safely? (See the picture at the link.)

Philo Vaihinger said...

Latest from Spain is they quarantined 4 and even killed the nurse's dog.

Fire Tom Frieden and stop the planes.

Steve M. said...

Really? So, where's the second Ebola case here? I'm not aware of one.