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    Posted October 15, 2014 by
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    On the front lines of Ebola

    Healthcare workers feel unprepared to care for Ebola patients


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     “I don't feel that anyone at the government level has really considered the impact their decisions have made on the average American healthcare worker,” said New York emergency room physician DrRhea. “No one asked us if we felt prepared. No one checked if we could be prepared. It is beyond frustrating and it is difficult to find a way to express our needs at a higher level.”

    DrRhea said her hospital is doing everything it can to prepare for the possibility of Ebola, like running drills, holding meetings with local health officials and teaching staff how to wear protective gear. But, she worries it may not be enough.

    “None of us have ever worked with Level 4 agents like Ebola. We have never had to wear this gear. No one on site 100% knows the right way to manage the risk, no matter how hard they prepare.”
    - zdan, CNN iReport producer

    I am an Emergency Room Physician in New York. On American soil, the ER becomes the frontline for Ebola. Our hospital is trying to establish protocols for dealing with possible Ebola patients, but we know we are not adequately trained. No poster or guideline packet from the CDC can compare with the extraordinary experience workers have obtained in the field. We have drills and practice putting on equipment, but there is no one experienced on site to help us. We teach ourselves and that is the danger. I am sure the nurse in Dallas did EVERYTHING she was told to prevent transmission-who wouldn't do everything to the letter in such a situation? It was not her carelessness that led to transmission, it was institutional inexperience and lack of higher level training and oversight from the CDC.

    These patients deserve to be cared for properly with state of the art resources, by people who know this terrible disease. If we do bring people to the US, they should be managed in regional centers with dedicated, EXPERIENCED teams. The CDC has created a potential disaster with their hubris. It is not fair to these patients, nor to health care workers, nor to the general public to treat them at just any hospital.

    We are all nervous even though we know the risk of receiving such a patient is small. However, as the case in Dallas illustrates, once you have that case, you have reason to become frightened. There is much more involved in treating these patients and preventing transmission than the average doctor and nurse understand.
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