Don’t count on nurse Aesop. I’m sure he’s not alone. Few healthcare providers got into the business to put their lives on the line every day. The Ebola virus is highly contagious and often lethal. Prevention of the spread of Ebola to healthcare providers and the general population requires high-level isolation units. Aesop says there are only 15 such beds in the U.S. (He calls them BL-IV beds). There are zero at most hospitals and zero in most cities.
We aren’t set up for this [virus], and we’re doing nothing to stop it getting here (rather the opposite in fact).
And when it does, after those first 15 beds are occupied, we’ve done nothing anywhere close to adequate to handle things properly and nip it in the bud.
But everyone in charge pretends we’ve done exactly that, when nothing could be further from the truth.
Maybe you can bullshit the Low Information Viewers in flyover country, but you can’t bullshit me or countless other doctors, nurses, and ancillary staff who’ll be on the frontlines (for about 20 seconds, in my case) before we drop our clipboards where we’re standing, and head for the parking lot.
I may make a bullshit excuse about not feeling well, I may pass off report on my patients to someone else who stays, but go I will, and I mean within minutes.
I can’t collect paychecks at Forest Lawn [cemetery], and I won’t be helping anyone shitting my intestines into my scrub pants, and both of those are slam-dunk outcomes with the present (and perpetual) half-assed level of preparedness for Ebola or any one of 27 other pandemic-worthy infections at every hospital (but for a small part of a bare few) from Anchorage to Miami, and Maine to Hawaii.
Anyone wants to go to medical or nursing school, and go work on the frontlines of Ebola with WHO or the CDC, rolling the dice you’ll live to retirement every time you scrub in or out, operators are standing by. (When every hospital has an actual 24/7 BL-IV capability, and staffs and supplies and trains for its use regularly – by which I mean more than once a year or three to salve their own charred consciences and pen-whip JCAHO’s lackadaisical clipboard commandos – we can talk. Otherwise: F**K that noise. Sideways, with a rusty chainsaw.)
In such an epidemic, there is no such thing as a valiant death.There’s just death.
I’ll do my damnedest to save your life if you come into my ER.
But I won’t kill myself to do it, and I won’t die for you because TPTB [the powers that be] at every level are too half-assed and cheapskate to prepare for this as if it was Really A Thing, too stupid to know that, and too evil to care. That ain’t in my contract, and unlike joining the Marines, I took no such oath, and it isn’t part of the deal.
I don’t know how many out of 4,000,000 medical practitioners will be that honest and tell you that up front.
I just did.
Have a great day! 🙂
Steve Parker, M.D.