The fear of contracting Ebola and bringing it home to their loved ones is taking its toll among hospital workers, according to sources reporting to Fox News on Oct. 25. There were many more than usual sick days taken by the hospital staff on Friday among the medical personal assigned to the unit treating New York’s first Ebola patient.
The New York Post reports that Bellevue Hospital has seen an “extraordinary number” of staffers who called out sick on Friday. The folks who called out sick were the medical staff who would have been working with Dr. Craig Spencer. He is the Doctor without Borders member who came home from West Africa last week after treating Ebola patients in the high-risk area and who now is an Ebola patient.
Spencer’s Ebola case marks the fourth medical worker who has contacted the Ebola disease either by working with patients in West Africa or in the U.S. and apparently this is frightening the staff who are scheduled to work with the latest Ebola case. On top of the sick call-outs, the people showing up for work are “petrified” at having to enter the ward where Spencer is being kept in isolation.
The nurses on the floor have the attitude of “why me,” when it comes to taking the risk and treating the doctor, a source reported to the media. According to a hospital spokesperson, they are denying any hospital “sick-out” among the staff.
The staff is assigned in teams with one person during the work needed to treat the doctor and the other is a spotter to make sure nothing occurs that would expose their partner to Ebola. They basically make sure procedure is followed to the max.
Spencer himself is taking an active role in his treatment lecturing staff on precautions and procedures that go along with treating someone stricken with Ebola. New York has one of the International Airports that handles the majority of the flights coming from West Africa to the U.S., so it would stand to reason that the hospital has been trained for this day when the first Ebola patient came through the doors.
More than likely many of the hospital medical staff are not just worried about themselves, they may be weighing out the risks because they have children at home when calling out sick. You can’t fault them if this is the case. Unfortunately medical staff working with Ebola patients have contracted the illness even when following the strictest of protocols, as seen in Dallas. It is not as if there isn’t a risk involved for these folk’s treating the patients.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and New York’s gov. Andrew Cuomo took matters into their own hands after Dr. Spencer was found to have contracted Ebola when coming from West Africa where he was caring for Ebola patients. Spencer was riding subways, dinned in restaurants, jogged and even went to a bowling party feeling a “little sluggish” upon his return from West Africa.
Christie and Cuomo has issued a 21-guarentine period for all doctors, nurses and travelers who have had contact with Ebola patients in the Ebola-ridden areas of West Africa. Both states have international airports that handle flights from the Ebola-ravaged countries.
The CDC calls for voluntary quarantines for these folks, but as Cuomo said, “It’s too serious a situation to leave it to the honor system.” When NBC’s head medical correspondent Nancy Snyderman returned from West Africa with her camera crew, they were all put under voluntary quarantine after their cameraman was stricken with Ebola.
Snyderman was seen out having dinner when she was under that “voluntary quarantine” which caused an uproar. She apologized, but that didn’t fix possibly exposing the public.