The breach in protocol that allowed one health care worker to get infected with the Ebola virus has claimed another victim. ABC News reported this morning that a second member of the team that provided care to Thomas Eric Duncan has tested positive for the virus:
A second healthcare worker at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital who provided care for Thomas Eric Duncan has tested positive for Ebola, the Texas Department of State Health Services announced.
The health care worker reported a fever on Tuesday and was isolated at the hospital, authorities said.
CNN reports that this was a preliminary test, which the CDC will confirm today, but they are already putting montoring protocols into effect:
The facility will now begin monitoring all those who had contact with the unidentified worker for signs of potential exposures.
The preliminary Ebola test was done late Tuesday at the state public health laboratory in Austin, and results received around midnight.
A second test will be conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
Speaking of protocols, the nurses union at the hospital had “no protocols” to deal with Ebola:
“The protocols that should have been in place in Dallas were not in place, and that those protocols are not in place anywhere in the United States as far as we can tell,” National Nurses United Executive Director RoseAnn DeMoro said Tuesday night. “We’re deeply alarmed.”
They aren’t the only ones. More on this as it develops.
Update: The nurses also claim that the hospital didn’t isolate Duncan immediately, and that up to seven other patients might have been exposed. They also claim the protective gear left their necks exposed, forcing them to use medical tape to cover them:
On the day that Duncan was admitted to the hospital with possible Ebola symptoms, he was “left for several hours, not in isolation, in an area where other patients were present,” union co-president Deborah Burger said.
Up to seven other patients were present in that area, the nurses said, according to the union.
A nursing supervisor faced resistance from hospital authorities when the supervisor demanded that Duncan be moved to an isolation unit, the nurses said, according to the union.
After expressing concerns that their necks were exposed even as they wore protective gear, the nurses were told to wrap their necks with medical tape, the union says.
“They were told to use medical tape and had to use four to five pieces of medical tape wound around their neck. The nurses have expressed a lot of concern about how difficult it is to remove the tape from their neck,” Burger said.
The hazardous waste from Duncan “piled to the ceiling” during his final days, the union also claims, accusing the hospital of having no clear plan to deal with the predictable byproduct of treating an infectious disease.