Nurses say U.S. hospitals not ready for Ebola, change needed after TB scare in El Paso

Providence Memorial Hospital, where 850 babies were exposed to TB

Providence Memorial Hospital, El Paso, where 850 babies were exposed to TB

Hospitals in El Paso and around the nation need to be better prepared to deal with Ebola and tuberculosis, such as the possible exposure of more than 850 newborns at Providence Memorial Hospital, nurses said at a news conference Thursday evening.

The possible TB exposure by an infected patient care technician at Providence and the first confirmed Ebola case in the U.S. at a hospital in Dallas underscore the need for hospitals to upgrade procedures, members of the National Nurses Organizing Committee said at a news conference on the sidewalk in front of Providence.

The union, which is affiliated with National Nurses United, represents registered nurses at Providence and other hospitals in El Paso and across the nation.

A Liberian man with Ebola had initially gone to a Dallas emergency room last week but was sent home when medical staff failed to detect that he was infected with the deadly disease that has ravaged West Africa.

It is vital that hospitals in El Paso and across the United States prepare to deal with a potential pandemic, registered nurse Yadira Cabrera said. “We are the first line of defense. We will probably be the first ones exposed,” Cabrera said…

She is right about that — medical personnel are the first ones to be exposed.

For more background on the TB problem, see Hospital worker exposed 850 infants to TB: An El Paso hospital worker who exposed more than 850 infants to tuberculosis was allowed to return to work despite showing symptoms of the disease and coughing up blood at a hospital health screening, a federal report shows.

The report from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reveals that the nurse assistant on July 2 told others at Providence Memorial Hospital she was fatigued and coughing up blood. She continued to work six more weeks later after a private doctor diagnosed her with TB…

We have forgotten all about deadly infectious diseases.