After two of the nurses who cared for Eric Thomas Duncan (the first to die of Ebola in the United States) tested positive for Ebola, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas has started to take active measures to protect their healthcare workers from infection.
Additional personal protective equipment and training is now being provided to Dallas healthcare workers. Healthcare workers are also being monitored to ensure that they follow proper procedures when removing their personal protective equipment. Furthermore, the hospital has provided a quarantine unit for any healthcare worker who has cared for an Ebola patient and wishes to isolate themselves as an added preventative measure.
The Ebola outbreak in Dallas demonstrates the negative consequences of having a reactive rather than a proactive approach to health and safety. In response to the Dallas outbreak, Canadian nurses have spoken out, demanding that Canada learn from Dallas’s mistakes and take a proactive approach to keeping our healthcare workers safe.
Linda Silas, President of the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions, began publically announcing the concerns her and other nurses shared of being unprepared for dealing with an Ebola outbreak in Canada. “We can learn from what happened in Dallas,” Linda Silas said, “hospitals need to do more to prepare and equip front line workers.”
Ontario Healthcare Authorities addressed the nurses’ concerns on the morning of Friday, October 17, 2014 in a press conference with Ontario Health Minister, Dr. Eric Hoskins. Hoskins statement assured Ontarians that Ontario is taking the necessary preventative measures to ensure that health and safety professionals are prepared for an Ebola outbreak. “My objective is to make sure that there’s no health-care worker in Ontario on the front lines that we’re asking to be part of our defense against Ebola, I don’t want a single health-care worker that feels that they are not adequately protected or secure or don’t have the equipment that they require,” Dr. Hoskins said.