As a hospitalist, I may be called by an emergency department physician today with the following scenario.
“Hey, Steve, I’ve got an admission for you. The patient just got off the plane at Sky Harbor and drove straight here with flu-like symptoms. He was in Liberia 10 days ago. This might be Ebola.”
My first inclination might be to run in the opposite direction from the ER and leave the hospital. But I probably won’t.
I’ve never seen a case of Ebola. At this point, very few U.S. doctors and hospitals have experience with it. I don’t remember anything about Ebola from medical school—for all I know it didn’t even existed back then.
In preparation for that call from the emergency department, here are some links for pertinent info, until I can memorize it all. Many of these links are to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and should be (better be) updated soon.
World Health Organization Guidelines on Personal Protective Equipment (October, 2014). This document is more detailed and probably a bit more stringent than the CDC’s advice, although the two have much overlap. A few points to remember:
- use nitrile gloves instead of latex
- medical/surgical mask must be fluid-resistant (e.g, “surgical N95 respirator”; if not surgical, it may not be water-resistant
- either fluid-resistant gown or coveralls, covered by a waterproof apron
- wear waterproof boots
World Health Organization Guidelines on Both Direct and Non-direct Care to Ebola Patients (September, 2014). Non-Direct care includes waste management, lab activities, movement and burial of human remains, etc.
The Nebraska Ebola Method: This dynamic and evolving course will provide videos, media, and guidelines as used in Nebraska to care for Ebola patients. The materials share current processes being used to safely care for patients with this dangerous, highly infectious disease. The course will be updated frequently to disseminate lessons learned.
A Detailed Ebola Case Report From Germany Published in NEJM. “Staff members…were protected by pressurized suits…that were equipped with ventilators with high-efficiency particulate air filters to provide fresh air supply with a maximum airflow of 160 liters per minute….” Does your hospital have these? “Decontamination [of healthcare workers] in the airlock is performed by two shower-cycles with 2% perchloric acid for 2 minutes and a residence time of 7 minutes. Finally acid residues are rinsed by showering with water.”
Lessons Learned Treating Ebola Patients at Emory University Hospital (pdf). Video of same presentation (didn’t work on my Mac).
Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Hospitalized Patients with Known or Suspected Ebola Virus Disease in U.S. Hospitals (I’m not sure these are adequate as of Oct. 15, 2014)
Personal Protective Equipment Training Demonstration Video from GNYHA. One way to do it, which may or may not be adequate.
University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Biosafety Level 4 Facility Guidelines for Donning and Doffing Personal Protective Equipment Around Viral Hemorrhagic Fever Patients (these took 30-60 seconds to load on my computer)
Updated: November 3, 2104, 2345 hrs