Thursday, October 16, 2014

Ebola - do we need economists and not medical scientists making decisions? Huge discrepancies between scientists and industry responses.

The 2 flights that the second health care worker made to and from Dallas to Cleveland have already caused ripple effects which are probably driven not by medical science but by fear  and possibly concern about financial impact.

The discrepancies between decisions made by medical scientist and individual businesses are striking

CDC - ok to fly with fever of 99.5 even though you treated patient with Ebola
Airline- take the plane off for decontamination

CDC - you can't get Ebola from someone who is not symptomatic.
Hospitals - nurses who flew on same flight as recent case before she got low grade fever are on paid leave.
Schools - closed for decontamination because a teacher was on same flight that CDC ok'ed her to fly on.

Till this panic settles down, we need protocols in place to divert suspects away from the public and "regular" healthcare intake channels.

The psychological impact of a potential patient walking through the hospital to seek out care - touching door knobs, counters, etc and "exposing" tens of people and healthcare workers will be huge and the potential financial impact quite terrible as the hospital in Dallas is finding out.  Yes, medical science tells us that person will likely not be infectious and it is OK for them to seek care using regular channels but once we have a single case like that, the mass fear will take over.  

Hopefully we don't get another traveler with Ebola coming into the USA but this will likely happen.  We hopefully will not make the same mistakes again that were made in the Dallas ER, but that assumes that every healthcare worker in the country is trained and follows the right steps which is highly improbable.

We need to keep our hospitals working smoothly!

We need to put up signs at every healthcare facility entrance that diverts suspected (high-risk) cases to dedicated triage hot lines.  This will reassure the public that it is safe to use the hospitals for their non-Ebola care.

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