DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital is now on the defense; defending their actions after the National Nurses United Union called them out for putting the health and safety of staff members in danger. The Union claims there was no protection, no training and no support for the nurses treating Thomas Eric Duncan, the first Ebola patient.
Chief Clinical Officer for Texas Health Presbyterian, Dan Vargas, of did apologize in a statement to Congress today. But the hospital also sent out a news release overnight defending their decisions by saying they followed CDC recommendations.
Questions coming from Congress in Washington DC mirrored the allegations first raised by the National Nurses United Union.
“We thought that his hospital in Dallas was actually prepared,” Deborah Burger, President National Nurses United, said. “But this story clearly indicates that it is otherwise.”
From September 28th-30th staff treating Thomas Duncan wore basic personal protective gear; gowns down to the knees, face shields or a mask, and gloves with no tape initially.
In its release, Texas Health Presbyterian said once Duncan’s Ebola test came back positive staff members were issued hazmat suits. But they admit some of those suits were too big and nurses were having to pinch and tape parts of it to make them fit right.
During the hearing today a picture of CDC Director Tom Frieden in West Africa, covered in protective gear, was shown. US Representative Michael Burgess from Texas made it a point to say Dr. Frieden’s gear was a far cry from what healthcare workers were given at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital.
Dr. Dan Varga also admitted the CDC sent the hospital an email bulletin about Ebola protection and treatment. But very few saw that email and no one ever got one-on-one training.
The hospital also clarified in their statement specimens taken from Duncan were properly handled and waste was well contained and disposed of beyond what the CDC recommends.
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