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Tag Archives: Ebola

WHO declares Sierra Leone free of Ebola

Cheers erupted and people danced in the streets Saturday as Sierra Leone marked the end of the Ebola outbreak within its borders, although neighboring Guinea still struggles to stamp out the deadly virus that has killed more than 11,000 mostly in…
Modern Healthcare Breaking News

Once-quarantined ‘Ebola nurse’ suing N.J. Gov. Chris Christie

A year after she was forcibly quarantined in New Jersey over Ebola contamination fears, nurse Kaci Hickox is suing that state’s health department and its high-profile governor, Chris Christie.

Last October, Hickox was at Newark Liberty Airport, having completed a volunteer health mission to Sierra Leone with Doctors without Borders.

When Hickox—who resides in Maine—refused to be screened in New Jersey, a new aspect of the disease took root. The RN told officials she had no symptoms associated with the deadly virus. Her stance sparked outrage from both sides of the argument.

On Thursday, attorneys for Hickox filed a 35-page civil complaint against Christie and the state health department, among others. Christie is a GOP presidential contender, and his past actions and comments could come back to haunt him.

The suit alleges Hickox was deprived due process and unlawfully detained, according to The Wall Street Journal.


Christie’s office declined to comment beyond the governor’s prior statements. Last year when Hickox threatened to sue, Christie retorted: “Get in line.”

The Wall Street Journal also reported Thursday that the health department spokeswoman wouldn’t comment because of pending litigation.

“The suit also names the administration’s recently departed Department of Health commissioner, Mary O’Dowd, along with an assistant commissioner and the director of communicable disease service,” said the Journal website.

O’Dowd, who now works for Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, did not respond to a request for comment.

Is this a frivolous lawsuit, or a groundbreaker for health care professionals who treat extreme cases? Readers, what do you think?

Texas Health Resources seeks dismissal of Ebola lawsuit

A hospital operator denies allegations of poor training and improper preparation in seeking dismissal of a lawsuit by a nurse who contracted while caring for the first U.S. patient to succumb to the deadly disease, a newspaper reported.
Modern Healthcare Breaking News

35 U.S. hospitals designated as Ebola treatment facilities

Strengthening domestic preparedness and hospital readiness.

That’s the message from U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell, who says 35 hospitals are now official Ebola treatment facilities.

Tuesday’s announcement follows months of uncertainty about how best to treat people exposed to Ebola. Top brass from many health care facilities conceded that their staff and buildings were not equipped to treat patients exposed to the deadly virus.

[RELATED LINK: Now is the time to re-visit your crisis communications plan- if you have one.] 

A press release from Burwell’s office says hospitals with Ebola treatment centers have been designated by state health officials, who worked with local health authorities and hospital administrators.

“Ebola treatment centers are staffed, equipped and have been assessed to have current capabilities, training and resources to provide the complex treatment necessary to care for a person with Ebola while minimizing risk to health care workers,” says Burwell.

The 35 hospitals that made the designation include:

  • Kaiser Oakland Medical Center; Oakland, California
  • Emory University Hospital; Atlanta
  • Northwestern Memorial Hospital; Chicago
  • Johns Hopkins Hospital; Baltimore
  • Mayo Clinic Hospital – Rochester, Saint Mary’s Campus; Rochester, Minnesota
  • Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital; New Brunswick, New Jersey
  • University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston; Galveston, Texas
  • Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
  • MedStar Washington Hospital Center; Washington, D.C.

Noticeably absent from the list is Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, where patient Thomas Duncan died in October. Duncan was the first person to succumb to Ebola in the U.S. Soon after his death, Duncan’s family reached a legal settlement with the hospital citing the negligent care that had been provided.

Ebola vaccine seems safe in first-stage testing

An experimental Ebola vaccine appears safe and triggered signs of immune protection in the first 20 volunteers to test it, U.S. researchers reported Wednesday.
Modern Healthcare Breaking News

Ebola Wednesday: Duncan’s family ‘reaches resolution’ with Dallas hospital

From the isolation unit to the courts.

There were few doubts that legal action would be taken in the death of 42-year-old Thomas Duncan, the only person who has died of Ebola in the United States.

This morning, Miller Weisbrod, LLP, a law firm specializing in medical malpractice, held a presser with Duncan’s family. Attorney Les Weisbrod announced that a confidential and amicable settlement has been reached between the family and Texas Health Resources and all related entities, according to a press release.

Duncan’s four children and his parents will be compensated for negligence and errors stemming from his death. His fiancee, though, is not included in the settlement.

Duncan’s nephew spoke at the presser, thanking Texas Health Resources for admitting their mistakes and quickly correcting policies and procedures related to the treatment Duncan received.

The press release also announced the formation of a charitable trust foundation to raise money for a new facility to treat Ebola victims in Africa. 

[FREE White Paper: Prepared for Ebola: How Emory University Hospital Managed the Crisis and the Health Care Message.]

On Sept. 25, Duncan went to the emergency room at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. Days before, he had arrived in Dallas from his native Liberia. A series of admitted missteps by medical staff at the hospital resulted in Duncan’s being sent home without proper treatment.

A few days later, he was back in the ER with full-blown Ebola. During his treatment, two nurses became infected with the deadly virus; they have since recovered.

Other Ebola-related news for communicators:

  • The Nebraska Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) hosted a meeting that featured Taylor Wilson of Nebraska Medicine PR and Phil Rooney, a Douglas County Health Department resource specialist. The two discussed how the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) handled media and communication when the U.S. State Department asked for help in treating two patients. UNMC’s bio-containment unit is one of only four in the United States. Wilson says UNMC had been preparing since 2005, and the PR department created website content in advance. In August, UNMC began monitoring conversation as “social media started to light up,” says Wilson.

  • There’s a new online site for leading health care, university, and public policy organizations to access personalized learning about reports that Health.EdCast.Org brings together multiple perspectives from various sources—not all from one university or constituency—to ensure quality content and information. The MOOC (massive open online course) will initially be moderated by Marcel Salathe, assistant professor of Biology at the Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics at Penn State University. Salathe has run two popular MOOCs on infectious disease dynamics.

  • In Mali, two new deaths from Ebola have been reported. The Associated Press says this is a major setback, as the fatalities are not believed to be linked to the only other known case in that nation.

  • On Saturday, musician Sir Bob Geldof will reignite his famed 30-year-old recording, “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” Many of the original performers on the Band-Aid fundraiser for Ethiopian famine relief will be joined by musical newcomers to re-record the song. Some lyrics will be changed to reflect the Ebola epidemic.

(Image via)

Swiss to Test Ebola Vaccine on Volunteers Going to West Africa

Source: – Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Swiss to Test Ebola Vaccine on Volunteers Going to West Africa Switzerland's drug regulator said on Tuesday (October 28) it had approved the testing of an experimental Ebola vaccine from GlaxoSmithKline on healthy volunteers, some of whom will be traveling… From: NTDTV Views: 0 0 ratings Time: 01:43 More in News & Politics

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First Ebola case in NYC prompts confident, bilingual messaging

At a press conference Thursday night, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio made his remarks in English, and then translated just a couple of short lines into Spanish.

It was far from fluent, but it was adequate to address de Blasio’s diverse constituency.

The patient, 33-year-old Dr. Craig Spencer, had been in Guinea, according to New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett. She says Spencer returned to Manhattan symptom-free on Oct. 17.

On Thursday morning Spencer developed fever and gastrointestinal problems, and he alerted his employer. Bassett says he was transported to the isolation unit at Bellevue Hospital.

Bellevue is one of the eight hospitals statewide that Gov. Andrew Cuomo designated this month as part of an Ebola preparedness plan, according to the state health department.

[Related: Read Ragan’s new white paper on how Emory University Hospital successfully treated the first Ebola patient in the U.S.]

Thursday afternoon, city health department workers were canvassing Spencer’s Manhattan neighborhood, distributing information on the disease door to door, according to Councilman Mark Levine, who represents the area.

This popped up on Twitter, from Tim Hanrahan, a deputy bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal:

Kind of weird to see police disposing of gloves in public trash can, as shown a couple times in tape CNN airing now.

— Tim Hanrahan(@TimJHanrahan) October 24, 2014

At the press conference, de Blasio said preparation has been underway for months, and clear and strong protocols on Ebola are in place in New York.

Cuomo told reporters that what happened in Dallas is the exact opposite of what has happened with Dr. Spencer.

“We had the advantage of learning from the Dallas situation,” Cuomo said.

Spencer is the fourth confirmed case of Ebola in the U.S. and the first outside Texas. On Oct. 8, Thomas Duncan, died from the disease in Dallas.

On Friday morning Nina Pham, the first nurse diagnosed with Ebola in the United States after caring for an infected patient in Dallas, was declared “virus free.” She had been transferred to the National Institutes of Health facility in Bethesda, Maryland.

On Wednesday, Pham’s colleague Amber Vinson was also declared free of the deadly virus. She has been treated at Emory University Hospital after being transferred from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas.

BREAKING: DeSalvo leaving ONC for Ebola response team

Dr. Karen DeSalvo, national coordinator for health information technology at HHS, is leaving that position to become acting assistant secretary of health, effective immediately, sources tell Modern Healthcare.
Modern Healthcare Breaking News

Dallas hospital admits mistakes in treating Ebola patient

Fears of a full-on Ebola outbreak in the United States are growing by the day.

Two schools in the Cleveland area canceled classes Thursday because a nurse who has been diagnosed with the disease flew on the same Frontier Airlines plane as a school staffer. President Obama has canceled travel plans to stay at the White House and oversee crisis control .

[Related: Read Ragan’s new white paper on how Emory University successfully treated the first Ebola patient in the U.S.]

Congress is looking for answers as to how two nurses got infected, and why officials at Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas hospital sent home Thomas Eric Duncan—who would later die of Ebola—when he first came to the hospital with symptoms and said he was from Liberia.

In written testimony to the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, Dr. Daniel Varga, the hospital’s chief clinical officer, said, quite simply, “We made mistakes.”

“We did not correctly diagnose his symptoms as those of Ebola,” Varga wrote. “We are deeply sorry.”

He goes on to say that officials don’t really know how Nina Pham, the first of two nurses at the hospital diagnosed with Ebola, could have contracted the disease. Varga wrote:

She is known as an extremely skilled nurse, and she was using full protective measures under the CDC protocols, so we don’t yet know precisely how or when she was infected. But it’s clear there was an exposure somewhere, sometime. We are poring over records and observations, and doing all we can to find the answers.

Varga offers a timeline of events, including Duncan’s initial discharge on Sept. 26. Duncan had symptoms that “could be associated with many other illnesses,” Varga wrote.

He concluded his testimony by offering a list of lessons and recommendations, including better Ebola screening processes and more comprehensive training.