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Manteca prepares for Ebola
Hospital training staff incase virus strikes locally
Ebola DSC 1236
Disaster preparedness coordinator, Jen Van der Maaten, R.N., talks to DHM medical professionals on the need to be ready in case Manteca is faced with the Ebola virus. Looking on is hospital CEO Nicholas Tejeda. - photo by GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin

Doctors Hospital is on a fast track to train its staff in case the dreaded Ebola virus makes its way to Manteca and Ripon. 

The hospital held its first in a series of forums last week. They are being followed up with repeated practice sessions and drills to create the most positive proficiencies in treating patients. 

“The number one thing is to let the community know we are planning,” Doctors’ CEO Nicholas Tejeda said on Wednesday. 

Hospitals across the nation have been given 60 days to ready their facilities and medical staffs to face a possible outbreak.

An Ebola Care Team has been formulated at Doctors and is in serious planning mode to meet any challenge from the virus if it were to make its way into the South County.   Jen Van der Maaten has been selected to serve as the disaster preparedness nurse at Doctors.

Three orientation forums were held in the hospital’s conference room on Wednesday and more took place Thursday. Two drills are scheduled this week with more to come to be followed by practice sessions until the medical staff is comfortable with prospect of carrying out their mission in its required protocol.

“I think it is a very real risk we see in Dallas and now in Cleveland,” Tejeda said.  “It’s better that we are safe rather than sorry as the Manteca community looks to Doctors to keep them safe.”

Reports indicate there are only18 beds nationwide for stricken Ebola patients.  Hospitals across the country are doing their best to prepare for the possibility of the virus materializing in their communities.  The first person in the U.S. to be diagnosed with the deadly disease in Dallas became the catalyst creating wide spread demands for better training of health care workers.  All Ebola patients are ultimately cared for at one of the country’s four specially equipped hospitals with bio-containment units.

The fear is that those hospitals will not be able to care for all future Ebola patients. Medical director for the infectious disease department at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta Bruce Ribner,  where the first two Ebola patients were treated, said it will not be possible for a select number of hospitals to care for those infected if the outbreak continues in West Africa. 

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has distributed instructions across the country for managing patients Algorithm Ebola Virus Diseases when a suspected patient is introduced to a hospital and the placing of them into a decontamination room.

Representing more than 2,000 registered nurses and some 2,000 physicians at 750 medical facilities across the country, The Society of Healthcare Epidemiology of America says the current Ebola outbreak illustrates the need for increased funding for hospital epidemiology and infection prevention programs worldwide.  The group pointed to the complexity and importance of ensuring the total adherence to infection control practices near personal protective equipment and urging the further training of health care workers.

CDC director Tom Frieden said his agency will work with all hospital across the nation to THINK EBOLA when someone with a fever or other symptoms who has traveled to any of the three west African countries in the past three weeks.

The World Health Organization (WHO) this week admitted that the Ebola outbreak in West Africa as far deadlier than previously analyzed.  The disease has killed some 4,000 people to date with a mortality rate of some 70 per cent.  Dr. Bruce Aylward  of WHO is warning the world that Ebola could spread to about 10,000 people a week by early December.