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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

October 23, 2014 at 7:05 AM

Ebola: Start constructing Ebola-specific medical centers

It is now time for America to come into the age of Ebola and treat patients in specific Ebola centers in prefabricated buildings designed for this specific pestilence [“Why virus kills some, other people survive,” Nation & World, Oct. 22]. It has been done successfully in Africa.

Our hospitals in North America are not designed to handle the kind of elaborate decontamination protocols that we now know Ebola requires, and we lack the isolation chambers for staff decontamination and rapid throughput for hazardous material that guarantees minimal environmental exposure before incineration.

One thing that is clear from the Presbyterian Hospital fiasco in Dallas is that not only was the staff not really quite prepared to receive its first Ebola patient despite the false sense of security engendered by numerous drills and re-enactments but this lack of preparedness was not solely a staffing or staff-related issue. Ebola was being treated as other infections, which it clearly isn’t. The stories of equipment failure, pile up of contaminated waste should have come as no surprise. This is a situation like no other.

A state of the art Ebola unit can be rapidly erected in a week with a patients’ unit, decontamination units and an outside incineration unit. I suggest that we look into building such units in a few major cities in this country. It needn’t take more than a few days to erect such prefabricated units in fairly isolated areas with temporary outside incineration units attached for disposal of medical waste.

The sooner we get on board with this the better. Ebola is not like many other infections we have encountered here in the U.S.

Ngozi Janet Achebe, Olympia

Comments | More in Ebola | Topics: disease, Ebola, hospitals

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