CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The president and CEO of the West Virginia Hospital Association, following a conference call Friday with the Centers for Disease Control, said the state’s healthcare workers are prepared in case a Ebola epidemic hits the U.S.
“We treat patients every day. We are ready to take in patients that appear before us, present with different symptoms,” said Joe Letnaunchyn. “The hospitals will apply their procedures and protocols in dealing with those patients.”
Doctors and nurses across the state have received the latest updates on the Ebola virus and how to protect themselves. It’s not much different from how hospitals train staffers to handle all sorts of medical conditions.
“I don’t want to make light of it and say this is not new but we’re constantly testing and screening patients for different symptoms and then we move into action based on the result of those screening results,” Letnaunchyn said.
So far, only one person has died here in the U.S. of Ebola. Thomas Duncan contracted the virus while in Africa and brought it back with him to Dallas. He was turned away from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital with a 103-degree temperature the first time he went to the ER. The second time he was brought in by ambulance. Two nurses who helped care for Duncan have now been diagnosed with the illness. Faulty hospital procedures have been blamed.
Letnaunchyn said he would not expect a patient with the virus here in West Virginia to slip through the cracks.
“We screen patients when they come in. All the hospitals have screening criteria to determine whether the patient needs isolation or further testing. Depending on the results of that screen they have protocols again that they follow.”