Follow us:

Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

October 14, 2014 at 6:05 AM

Ebola: Blame the system, not the health-care worker

It is far too soon to blame a “breach in protocol” on a nurse who cared for the unfortunate Ebola patient [“CDC: Protocol breach in treating Ebola patient,” Nation & World, Oct. 12].

More than likely, it is a systems problem — not the fault of an individual. Was there an adequate location to take off the isolation clothing? Was it inside or outside of the room? Great question — the clinic where I work the laundry hamper is outside the room. If there were a possibility of an Ebola patient in my clinic (the question of travel is asked of all), it seems we would bring the laundry hamper in the room, which is small and doesn’t have any space for a laundry hamper. Get the picture?

What was the staffing like? Given the constraints in caring for this very sick patient, were there two nurses — or just one — assigned to him? What about support staff? Do more with less is the motto in health care these days. See where I’m going? So, before we blame the person at the bedside, it is important to look at the system as a whole.

Seattle is very ready to identify patients possibly infected with Ebola including providing excellent care at the bedside by the medical and nursing team. The big question actually is: Is the hospital, as a system, ready to do the same?

Karen Kilian, Seattle

Comments | More in Ebola | Topics: Ebola, health care, Karen Kilian

COMMENTS

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.



The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►