Ebola turns Dallas hospital into a ‘Ghost Town’ – virus could destroy U.S. healthcare system

October 2014DALLAS – The Dallas nurses who contracted Ebola while treating a patient at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital have been moved from the building, but patients are still steering clear of the once-bustling hospital. People have called to cancel outpatient procedures, and some have even opted not to go to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in emergency situations, ABC Dallas affiliate WFAA reports. “It feels like a ghost town,” Rachelle Cohorn, a local health care vendor who has been to the hospital recently, told WFAA. “No one is even walking around the hospital.” Texas Health Presbyterian’s average emergency room wait time had been 52 minutes, according to federal hospital data. But when ABC News called the hospital and asked the emergency department for the ER wait time today, the response was that there was no wait time. The hospital has also taken public relations hits on a number of fronts. It was revealed that Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan was initially sent home from the ER even though he told staff there that he had recently come from West Africa, the epicenter of the Ebola outbreak. And this week, another health care worker who took care Duncan criticized the hospital administration for not providing proper training and equipment to nurses caring for Duncan. The hospital still has no idea how two of its staff nurses were infected with the Ebola virus.
To weather the storm, the hospital will need to convince people that Texas Health Presbyterian is still a safe hospital, said Dr. Dan Varga, the chief clinical officer of Texas Health Resources, which owns the Dallas hospital. “I would tell this community that Presbyterian is an absolutely safe hospital to come to,” Varga told ABC News chief health and medical editor Dr. Richard Besser on Thursday. “We’ve been in communication with our doctors that have their private offices in our professional buildings around the campus who are getting 40, 50, 60 percent cancellations just for fear of being somewhere in the geography of the hospital where Ebola is treated.” Texas Health Presbyterian became the first hospital in the nation to be faced with diagnosing Ebola on American soil when Duncan, a Liberian man visiting family in Dallas, went to the emergency room on Sept. 26. He was initially sent home with antibiotics, but returned two days later in an ambulance when his symptoms worsened. The hospital put Duncan in isolation. He died on Oct. 8. Two nurses contracted Ebola from Duncan, though how exactly they were exposed remains unknown. Nina Pham, 26, was diagnosed on Oct. 11, and Amber Vinson, 29, was diagnosed on Oct. 15, health officials said.
Texas Health Presbyterian cared for Pham in isolation for five days before requesting that she be moved to another facility. She was flown to an NIH facility in Bethesda, Maryland, on Oct. 16, and Vinson was flown to Emory University Hospital the day before. Varga told Congress on Oct. 16 that the hospital staff was never trained to handle a patient with Ebola. He said they received guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in July but never received any face-to-face training. About 70 staff members are being monitored after possible exposure to the Ebola virus. “Over the long haul is the emotional toll going to be something that leaves a mark?” Varga asked. “We have a bunch of employees on surveillance now because they had contact with Mr. Duncan, with Nina, with Amber.” Alex Normington, who works for a national firm that helps hospitals establish their reputations, told WFAA that Texas Health Presbyterian has had a “very good” reputation since it opened in 1966. “A hospital’s reputation can take years or generations to build,” Normington said. –ABC News
Healthcare system in grave peril: Decontamination protocols, the disposal of hazardous waste from the patient, unpaid medical bills, the infection of healthcare workers, potential lawsuits and on-going civil litigation exposure. This is how a level-4 pathogen like Ebola could destroy well-established U.S. hospitals across the country in the space of a few weeks. U.S. hospitals were never designed to treat such cases and U.S. healthcare professionals have no training in how to treat patients infected with level-4 pathogens. Duncan was only one case. There will be many more. It may take years for this Dallas hospital to recover from this one Ebola case – if it ever recovers at all. –Alvin Conway

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29 Responses to Ebola turns Dallas hospital into a ‘Ghost Town’ – virus could destroy U.S. healthcare system

  1. Melissa says:

    Maybe hitting their pocketbook will make healthcare get down in price to a more real level.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dennis E. says:

    In my opinion this hospital may have to be torn down and parts of it destroyed by fire: to include the surrounding doctor offices. Probably overkill. But people are getting afraid. They should not be afraid, they need to think, they need to meditate and not jump to extremes.
    But we live in a mentally fragile society who only wants to know the now and not the purpose or why. Just tell me what I need to know……….I get that everyday. I work with people who do not watch the news.
    I am preparing for quarantine and so should you. It is a pity to see grown people act as they do sometimes. It seems we are heading that way. And I cannot think that this is prepared plan we are seeing unfold. Probably one of the triggers to change our way of life. Jesus help us…….

    As we descend into chaos……


  3. Yellow Bird says:

    sheesh. at least in Liberia, most folks are doing what they can to pull together…
    here it’s more like every man for himself… but then, this nation was founded on the ‘spirit of independence’

    Liked by 1 person

  4. DMandAnswers says:

    This is an excuse Varga. You and the execs are responsible. If you felt the training was inadequate you should have raised the bell then.

    A PR nightmare sounds more like time for new management and a recovery plan. The real issues were:
    Duncan said he was in the hot zone and was sent home.

    Inadequate training

    Waist disposal

    How many real isolation chambers does the U.S. really have. I heard it was around a dozen or so facilities across the U.S. If that true or even if it’s double or triple, one plane or subway and we are screwed.


  5. niebo says:

    “A hospital’s reputation can take years or generations to build.”

    The same could be said of the healthcare system as a whole . . . and, now, meet the new “Ebola Czar” for the United States: A guy with ZERO healthcare experience.



    Is this a joke . . . or are they playing politics with an outbreak of a BSL-4 pathogen?


    • Yellow Bird says:

      a lot of politics… Big Time, End Game Politics
      all is not necessarily as it appears. much mishandling is utilitarian pragmatism…
      history repeats, suspect ‘smallpox blankets’ and cleansing showers coming soon


  6. serena says:

    guys and gals ? with all love and respect : HOW is anything making sense,from their nonsense on NOT knowing what eboLa is,to proper precautions,to the nurse that ALLEGEDLY cared for ebola#1 running a low grade fever-CALLING THE CDC ?? ,then boarding her flight-SHOPPING etc etc and even this ALLEGED nurse didn’t have a clue ? and of course she is alleged to be planning her wedding ???
    boys and girls,HOW long did “they” gt away with the sandy hook HOAX that little kids were killed ?
    They got away with it LONG ENOUGH to pass restrictive laws on the 2nd amendment.
    so what can be their agenduh this go round ?
    and PS-what ever happened to the maintenance guy power hosing puke off the sidewalk and the lady watching this ?
    and PLEASE don’t start with the scatology on “shedding BILLIONS of active germs when they are END STAGE” so that’s why ALL WEARING protective/haz mat whatever are ALLEGEDLY DEAD and dying, and those without protective gear living,breathing and cleaning inside that apartment where mr duncan ALLEGEDLY was ill for days don’t have a thing wrong-
    staff was not smearing feces and vomit on themselves etc etc
    and why aren’t there ANY cell phone photos,videos out here from the nations afflicted over in africa and they most CERTAINLY DO have their cells.
    this stuff stinks out loud.


    • Yellow Bird says:

      no, things adding up to different solution than advertised. “ebola” now looking like scapegoat to me. virtually nothing about this outbreak looks like previous outbreaks of same name. why? “airborne” sounds very convenient… but compare with travel of truly airborne EV-68 across entire north american continent in matter of weeks. what do we see really? turn sound off, what do we actually SEE?
      read history of previous outbreaks– look up old pictures and view carefully. notice what protective gear was employed and how far disease travelled. compare to now. watch video of airline doofus making poor taste joke, and consider whether official response to it showed good common sense. wonder whether whole thing staged production for viewers’ benefit.
      please note geographic location of all that is based in region which simply cannot get outbreak under control. wonder what might be causing so much death, really.


  7. wally says:

    Does this whole-ebola thing mutate?


  8. Old Guy says:

    And you cant blame anyone for not wanting to go to that hospital. they let their own staff become infected. No person in their right mind would believe anything the hospital spokesperson states.


  9. Reminds me of the AIDS epidemic back in the 80’s.


  10. PoliPsy says:

    The horrible bungling of the index patient and the aftermath by the Obama Administration, the CDC and Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital is symptomatic of a general malaise that has overtaken American society. Laziness, apathy, incompetence, sense of entitlement, loss of work ethic and professionalism has crept in to dominate nearly every segment of our society. It’s a very good day when one encounters a professional willing to provide excellent service or product. Remember. We are all consumers as well as providers.


  11. greg says:

    Perhaps they could take the some of the overload from parkland. There ER is never less than 5-10 hours unless you’re having a baby.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Reblogged this on The Other Side Of The Stretcher and commented:
    “Ebola turns Dallas hospital into a ‘Ghost Town’ – virus could destroy U.S. healthcare system

    Texas Presbyterians average ER wait time is usually 52 minutes,
    now no wait time!


  13. Preacher says:

    I will go there, I’m not scared, I know this is a fraud, only people with the flu shots will get Ebola and die.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. JerseyCynic says:

    OK – so we don’t have the best healthcare system…..but but but we DO have the most expensive!
    and dedicated ‘clip board guys’ directing traffic and escorting the contaminated crews without one ounce of protective gear. give. me. a. break.

    Alvin this whole outbreak smells. I don’t know too many folks who are buy it. SO many agendas to be accomplished by TPTBgoingdown.

    I read that both russia and united states have had ebola vaccines a few decades now — ever since it was developed as a biological weapon. this is all about an eventual financial collapse (the plunge protection team won’t be around this time) and a cashless society (money spreads disease) and rolling up your sleve to be injected with god knows what.

    WHO knows. I don’t know


  15. John says:

    Amazing ! !! Just one ebola patient and two nurses become infected and the entire economy of the Presbyterian hospital and surrounding doctor’s offices go into a nose dive. What would happen to the economy if there were 4000 ebola patients in the United States like there are in Africa? I imagine schools would shutdown, people would stop going to work, hospital staff would walk off the job, police would not want to interact with criminals because of contagion. Basically, everybody would become afraid of everybody else, and everyone would go into isolation which would totally collapse the economy. Reminds me of that YouTube video After Armegeddon.


  16. How big a leap will be required to go from militarizing Ebola response domestically to fully opening up FEMA camps “to deal with the crisis?”


  17. cleslie1@comcast.net says:

    This is the real reason Ebola is in the U.S. People better wake up !


  18. Susan says:

    While we may not all agree on the crisis at hand, how it will progress and who may be behind it there is one common thread in all these posts and that is there is zero trust in our government and it’s leaders to make sensible decisions and put Americans first. That may be even more scary than ebola. ISIS, ebola, rogue government agencies, financial collapse. What next? I don’t want to think about it. So many dangers it’s hard to know if preparation is possible or even advised. Who wants to live in the grim looking future anyway?


  19. Yellow Bird says:

    WHO does, indeed


  20. Well unfortunately our CDC seems content to have a potential 3,150 (150/day x 21 days) “self-monitoring” potential Ebola victims/vectors running around the USA on any given day. Doesn’t much seem like containment! http://thescoopblog.dallasnews.com/2014/10/west-african-travelers-to-be-monitored-for-21-days-in-u-s.html/


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