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Contamination Fears May Limit Healthcare Workers Willing to Treat Ebola Patients

Updated on October 13, 2014

She Wore Proper Protective Gear But Was Still Infected

The new case of Ebola in Dallas is a nurse that treated Thomas Duncan, who is now deceased. She wore protective face shield, gloves, a gown and mask, but still became infected. The CDC detectives are still investigating how this may have happened. However, it may be possible that one of the steps was missed or done in the wrong order when it was time to remove her gear. If a person treating Ebola patients with protective gear touches there face with infected gloves this can cause contamination. If the gown is not removed from the inside out, this can cause contamination as well. There are a lot of steps and precautions to avoid infection and if any one of them is done incorrectly or out of sequence it can result in an infection. This is a very scary situation that may cause health care workers fear of treating Ebola patients in the future.

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The Look of Proper Ebola Protective Gear

Ebola Gear in Africa
Ebola Gear in Africa
Ebola Gear in Dallas Hospital
Ebola Gear in Dallas Hospital

The Proper Order To Put on The Protective Gear

When working with contagiously ill patients it is important to understand that there is a proper way of placing the equipment and removing the equipment. However, in such a stressful environment health care workers become overworked, tired, emotionally and physically exhausted. Human error may cause a mistake. According to the CDC, here is the proper order for putting on the protective gear. This PDF file can be found here.

  1. Gown - Torso should fully be covered from the neck to the knees. Arms should be covered down to the wrist and around the back. Then fasten in the back of the neck and waist.
  2. Mask or Respirator should fit snug to face and beneath the chin.
  3. Goggles/Face shield should be placed over the face and adjusted to fit properly.
  4. Gloves should extend to cover the wrist and over the gown not exposing any area there.

Willing To Treat Ebola Patients Poll

If you were qualified to treat Ebola patients in the hospital would you do it?

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Issues Following Safety Protocols in Treating Ebola Patients

Imagine how difficult it would be to remember to take each object of clothing off in a particular way, in the correct order each time without missing a step. That is what it is like for health care workers treating Ebola patients. Several health workers in California are understandably concerned about their chances of contracting the deadly disease if they treat Ebola patients. They are being told that gloves, gowns, face shields, and goggles are sufficient. However, they have expressed concern that their protective gear is not the full coverage suits that are being used in Africa to avoid contamination and they also feel less prepared than they should be. The health workers in California say that they have not received enough training, drills, or practice runs. Health care workers may be considering picketing if their demands for better protection and training is not met.

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Proper Process for Putting on and Removing Protective Gear

Hospital Protective Gear

Gowns, gloves, goggles, and masks are not enough. All hospitals should have full jumpsuit and body protection for Ebola patients.

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Screening For Ebola, Hospital Guidelines

These are the guidelines for hospitals screening Ebola patients.
These are the guidelines for hospitals screening Ebola patients. | Source

The Ebola Situation in West Africa

Meanwhile, in West Africa the Ebola outbreak is out of control. Over 4,000 people have died of the outbreak in West Africa so far, official estimates that there are more than 8,000 people that have Ebola, and these numbers are continuing to grow. There are people dying on the street while waiting to get a bed, but getting a bed does not necessarily mean they will be that much better off than dying at home. They are low on supplies as well as medical staff. U.S. troops are being sent to west Africa to help fight the Ebola outbreak and ABC News medical expert Richard Besser stated there is a realistic possibility that one of the 3,000 U.S. troops being sent there could become infected while helping to fight the outbreak. The Pentagon, however, confirms that the troops being deployed to fight Ebola will be safe.

U.S. Troops Sent To West Africa

Troops putting on protective gear for West Africa
Troops putting on protective gear for West Africa

U.S. Troops Being Sent To West Africa

Do you think U.S. Troops being sent to West Africa to help fight Ebola will be safe?

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