Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital and Republicans Share Blame For Ebola Spread


Blame is the act of holding responsible and making negative statements about an individual or group that their action or actions are socially or morally irresponsible. Over the past five-and-a-half years Republicans have religiously blamed every and anything negative that occurred in this country over the past two decades on the African American man in the Oval Office. The latest Republican blame-fest is centered on the Ebola virus, and as is typically the case, the real culprits are not being held responsible for their morally and socially irresponsible actions.

Republicans and some Democrats are assailing the White House, the Centers for Disease Control, and the National Institutes of Health for the possible spread of the virus in America. Some Republicans have demanded travel restrictions into America from West Africa where the virus originated even though there are no direct flights from West Africa to America. Texas Ted (Cruz) insists that the federal government is not serious “about protecting the American public,” and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) director Tom Frieden was criticized by Republicans during a congressional hearing on the virus. However, there has been little criticism of the Texas hospital that is likely as responsible as congressional Republicans for the spread of the virus.

Although Frieden did not specifically address the direct criticism of the CDC’s handling of the case in Texas, he did note that “There is a lot of understandable concern about the cases in Dallas,” and that “There are no shortcuts in the control of Ebola and it is not easy to control it. To protect the United States, we have to stop it at the source” alluding to why the virus made it into this country in the first place, and why it may have spread outside the Dallas area.

There has not been much mainstream media coverage of why the virus was not “stopped in its tracks” in West Africa or why the NIH and CDC budgets for infectious disease research have been slashed over the past ten years. NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins did say the effect of budget cuts on Ebola research is greatly responsible for the virus’s spread out of Africa.  He said in an interview less than a week ago that, “Frankly, if we had not gone through our 10-year slide in research support, we would have had a vaccine in time for this that would’ve gone through clinical trials and would have been ready.”

As reported here, congressional Democrats are demanding that Republicans hold hearings and investigate why the CDC and NIH did not have appropriate funding levels necessary to combat the Ebola virus, although it is unlikely they will investigate their own dangerous austerity policies. But they cannot deny they have cut billions-of-dollars from the CDC and NIH for research into infectious disease preparedness at all levels of government. The cuts go back ten years, as NIH director Friedman noted, with particular funding shortfalls as a result of the Republicans’ precious sequester they were duly warned was a dangerously indiscriminate threat to Americans.

There has been very little criticism of the Texas hospital that is inherently culpable for the initial spread of the virus in America, and now nurses at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital have released a damning statement to National Nurses United revealing the hospital’s part in spreading the virus. The RNs say they feel a duty to air their concerns that are shared by many hospital employees about the protocols, or lack thereof, and frequently changing policies that contributed to the virus’s spread.

According to the nurses, when Thomas Eric Duncan arrived at the hospital the first time he was just sent back home despite informing them he had travelled from Africa. On returning again by ambulance Duncan and family members informed the hospital he may have Ebola and instead of being rushed into isolation, he was left, for several hours, in an area where other patients were present. The nurses said there were no infectious disease protocols or information on what personal protective equipment should be worn and there had been no previous training. Shockingly, after a nursing supervisor arrived and demanded Duncan be immediately moved into an isolation unit, hospital authorities resisted

To make matters worse, when lab specimens from Duncan were taken, instead of following standard “infectious disease” protocol and properly sealing and hand delivered for testing, they were sent through the hospital tube system without being specially sealed. The result is the entire hospital tube system through which all laboratory specimens are transported was contaminated with Mr. Duncan’s Ebola virus. The nurses said there was no advanced preparedness on how to deal with the patient, there was no protocol, and there was no advanced system in place. When the nurses did call the hospital’s Infectious Disease Department for special procedures and safety protocols, they were informed the hospital did not have any clear policies to offer.

The hospital did say that nurses have to adhere to ever-changing guidelines, but did not say why there was confusion to begin with, but when nurses asked hospital officials which set of guidelines they were supposed to follow, the official message to the nurses was “it’s up to you.” It is stunning. In the face of such a dangerous and virulent infectious disease, and the threat to the entire hospital staff and patients, it is up to the hospital, and not the nurses or staff, to be setting policy and safety protocols. That includes the hospital’s responsibility to optimally train the nurses in how to correctly deal with Ebola, don protective clothing and masks, as well as dispose of waste.

This is one case where there is plenty of blame to go around, and yet it is being reserved for the Obama Administration, the CDC, and the NIH and not where it duly belongs; Republican cuts to infectious disease research and prevention and the hospital. There is no excuse for the hospital not isolating the Ebola patient immediately upon learning he had recently arrived from Africa, particularly after informing the hospital he likely was infected with Ebola. It cannot be reiterated enough that if the NIH infectious disease prevention and preparedness had been properly funded, if the virus had not been stopped in Africa, an FDA-tested and approved vaccine would be available to stop the virus in its tracks in Texas

19 Replies to “Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital and Republicans Share Blame For Ebola Spread”

  1. Since FACTS mean absolutely nothing to the TPGOP any and all statements made by those nurses will be disregarded. Governor Perry had a plan but immediately left the country. I wonder if that was before or after he revealed said plan. Perhaps all those fear mongering people should start bargaining with whichever God they are currently paying homage to.

  2. I find it interesting that Texas, with its anti-Obama, anti-heathcare, anti-abortion-pro-death penalty, etc, etc, positions has been chosen by the Great Whoever to be ground zero for the US-Ebola disaster. Maybe there is a Whoever, and such being knows something about karma.

  3. And how many of the TPGOP members of the House, who were physicians at one time in their lives, voted to cut budgets of federal agencies like the NIH and CDC? I bet all of them. And who put a hold on the name of the nominee for Surgeon General? None other than Rand Paul, who is, allegedly, a physician. His reason and the reason his fellow TPGOP senators gave was the nominee’s statement that gun violence represents a serious public health threat (which it definitely does). I think that the TPGOP would love to see a pandemic, just so long as no one in their families was affected. It would stoke the flames of their fear mongering and eliminate people who would possibly vote against them.

  4. In my experience, Republicans have historically had a “boogyman under the bed” mentality. Starting with all the commies in the House,ala McCarthy the America of Republicans has always been threatened, by some ‘thing.’

  5. I keep hearing about the nurses in Dallas
    not following the correct protocol and am confused, I am not that familiar with US hospitals, having lived a lot in Europe, but don’t these large hospitals have chief medical officers and training sessions, surely there must have been someone in the chain of command to read the protocols and then make sure each nurse was properly trained.

  6. The hospital share a lot of the blame in this as well, there should have been a isolation policy in effect for any patient of any known disease. They should have had a isolation drill at least once or twice a month for all personnel to learn how to use the equipment,supplies, set up a room, break down a room, take a care of patient from the minute they walk they walk through the door until they are admit to the hospital. Budget cuts might have played a big role in not doing this because they might not see that many people who have to go into isolation for any reason. Just learning the basis of setting up or what to do for isolation patents may have help these nurses from getting effected. Where is OSHA, how do these hospital getting certified, how do these nurses get certified, we can’t blame the nurses for not being certified we have to blame the hospital. But if you ever worked in the medical field everyone is normally trained to work in isolation one time or another.

  7. Every time an American dies of ebola, a notation should appear on his headstone: “Killed By Republicans.”

  8. Training takes money. Protective gear for all major hospitals takes money.

    When funding is at a bare minimum- there isn’t the money for these things, much less research for treatment & immunization.

  9. This IS a for-profit hospital, so they can’t blame the Feds. It’s also in an upscale part of Dallas. Hard to believe they were SO unprepared for handling an infectious disease. Inexcusable.

  10. You have to remember .. After the share holders get theirs. money thats left can be made available for healthcare..

  11. Rachel Maddow this week brought to light the fact that Mr Paul is not a REGISTERED physician anywhere in the US ! He is a member (with his father) of a self-appointed group of ‘physicians’ – so be careful who you consult !

  12. The most sickening thing is that none of those responsible for this will never see any kind of punishment. These days those, including politicians, stand before “we the people” and dispense their lies, and think we don’t have enough common sense to see through them. Said it once and will say it again here..Mr Duncan was sent home with medication that only covers bacteria infections. These people that were in charge only seen the cost of his hospitalization. Even after him telling of his travel, they elected to dump Ebola on the public. If it was not for the family returning with him and again being told of the possibility of Ebola they reacted and still screwed up. Their response then and now with cover ups and lies speaks volumes for the gods they serve. These people, including politicians involved, should have to answer to their arrogant disregard for human life. If not, those with like minds and actions could be the end of us all. Everything is about politics and money to them.

  13. been a health care provider for over 34 years and never experienced the level of incompetence that this hospital exhibited. Not only is there a chief medical officer (CMO), there is a head of Infectious Diseases (ID). Nothing at this point has reflected their early involvement. All we have heard was responses from administrators outlying what was done. Never hearing what they failed to do with respects to CMO and ID involvement. Doctoring of medical records to cover up Mr Duncan’s 103 degrees temperature and greater than 3 hours waiting in the ER sitting room and other incompetent actions is just the tip of the iceberg and should speak volumes for who was truly in charge of this disaster. It was for sure not the doctors and nurses.

  14. Me too Joan. How is it that nurses are not trained in isolation tech’s is beyond me. I worked in a Hosp’s and clinics for a few years. Even Lab tech’s know them.

  15. Every on is trained in these tech’s at one time” EXACTLTY marie! No excise to leave this very ill man out in the public area!!!!

  16. The right wing can only send out messages to trash everyone but themselves. They are to blame.
    First of all it is not up to the Drs. And Nurses to set up the protocol for I fectious disease. The hospital is 100% to blame. Since it is for profit hospital they squeeze every penney they can get from the (customer)patient. They do not care. Profit is #1 priority with them. Texas loves to brag about how they support less regulations so it all comes home to roost with the right wingers and the hospitals board. Hope they are sued by Mr. Duncan’s family,the Drs. The nurses,the patients and everyone who makes profit their mantra over patient care and safety. No it is not the Drs. And nurses who breached protocol. They never had one in place. Let Texas secede and clean up the mess they created with their vision for a cruel state.

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