No hospital ‘protocols’ for Ebola treatment: US nurses’ group

WASHINGTON- Nurses at the Texas hospital where a Liberian Ebola patient died last week complain they were given few rules and little guidance on how to treat the severely ill man, contrary to assertions by US health authorities.

The head of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Thomas Frieden, said earlier this week that a “breach in protocol” by health workers led to a nurse becoming infected with the potentially fatal virus.

But a national union speaking late Tuesday on behalf of the Texas nurses rejected the assertion that protocols were breached.

They told reporters at a telephone news conference that clear treatment guidelines for Ebola were all but non-existent at the Texas hospital.

“The CDC is saying that protocols were breached, but the nurses are saying there were no protocols,” said Roseann DeMoro, head of the group National Nurses United, in a phone conference from California.

The nurses’ union shared the revelations from workers at Presbyterian Hospital Dallas without disclosing their names, because many were afraid that their candor could cost them their jobs.

The first time that the patient came to the hospital he was sent back home, despite having told nurses that he had been in Ebola-stricken Liberia — information that authorities now say should have been a clear tip-off that he could be infected with the illness.