San Diego hospitals prepare for Ebola

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Nurses met with Governor Brown in Sacramento and rallied in Oakland to demand that California adopt safety standards to protect nurses from getting Ebola.

Safety suits arrived at Scripps to protect health care workers as they deal with potential cases of Ebola.

Scripps started training doctors and nurses in four emergency rooms and three urgent care facilities on Tuesday. The training will be all week.

Boxes and boxes of full body suits arrived at Scripps Health Tuesday.

1,000 to use for training employees. The white suits made of a thinner material, and 850 of blue suits, for use in dealing with potential cases of Ebola.

Scripps Health has recently adopted the Doctors without Borders protocol for dealing with infectious diseases.

“It includes full bunny suit, face mask, double gloves, non skid boots,” said Dr. James Labelle.

They are developing a system for health care workers that does not allow mistakes. It will take three people.

“A nurse to take care of the patient, a safety observer to be in the room, essentially a second caregiver, and a safety monitor that runs the checklist of getting in and out of personal protective gear,” said Dr. Labelle.

Perhaps that is the way the nurses in the Dallas hospital that treated Ebola patient Thomas Duncan got infected, through mistakes while taking off suits.

Since then, hospitals all over the country have held drills, like Rady Children’s, so hospital staff know what to do if someone with the disease comes through their doors.

“If you look at some of the drills, exposure of the skin, I’m no Ebola expert, but the full exposure keeps changing for CDC guidelines,” said Michael D. Jackson.

That is why members of National Nurses united met with Governor Jerry Brown, asking for California to be the leader in setting new rules for hospitals to protect health care workers.

“We need robust hands on training with your co-workers,” said Michael.

But the Chief Medical Officer of Scripps Health James Labelle says it takes time to revamp their system, hence the continuous re-training of health care workers.

If nurses and doctors do not feel safe, he says, it will difficult to take care of patients.

Societal panic about a disease that is very hard to contract is not helping.

“Everyone should just take a deep breath, recognize that we are committed to making sure our health care workers are safe, and I personally have confidence in that,” said Dr. Labelle.

Scripps had two false alarms in the last week, which offered them real time practice in dealing with patients sick with Ebola.

There have been seven false alarms across the county, and health officials tell KUSI Ebola is not in San Diego.

Categories: KUSI