Nurses Union: Duncan Not Put In Isolation, Waste Piled Nearly Up to Ceiling

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CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta reported on further allegations made by a nurses union that Dallas Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan was not put into isolation, allowed his blood to circulate through the hospital’s tube system, and that waste “piled up nearly to the ceiling” inside patient’s rooms on Tuesday’s “CNN Tonight.”

Gupta said that the National Nurses United stated that they were informed by nurses that “Mr. Duncan was not in isolation. He was not in isolation for several hours, despite the fact that a nursing supervisor asked that he go into isolation, and that he may have come in contact with seven patients at that time.”  

The also claimed, “the blood, the laboratory blood that was taken from Mr. Duncan was sent through the hospital tube system…and the concern is that tube system could potentially become contaminated as a result of the fact that this blood with Ebola was circulating through it.”

According to Gupta, nurses “were told at least according, again, to this union to wrap medical tape around their neck, four to five times, they said wrap medical tape around their neck, to try to prevent any of that bodily fluid from touching their exposed skin.” And “also commented on the fact that waste, they didn’t know what to do with the waste, and it would pile up nearly to the ceiling in some of these patients’ rooms because they didn’t know quite what to do with it.”

Gupta also reported that Wendell Watson, the Director of Public Relations for Texas Health Resources (which owns the hospital where Duncan was treated) issued a statement that “patient and employee safety is our greatest priority and we take compliance very seriously.  We have numerous measures in place to provide a safe working environment, including mandatory annual training and a 24/7 hotline and other mechanisms that allow for anonymous reporting.  We will continue to review and respond to any concerns raised by our nurses and all employees.”

Gupta opined that “it would be very irresponsible to suggest this was a hospital sort of protocol to tell nurses to wrap tape around their neck, to try to do this. I think probably this was somebody who said, ‘you know what? I don’t know what to do. I’m not sure what the right answer is here, but we need to take care of this patient. So here is a solution.’ As outrageous a solution as it may be, that is one that at least some of these nurses say was offered up.”

He also pointed out that “despite all the preparations, these are the type of lapses that we’re hearing about.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett


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