So now we find out that the Texas hospital that hosted the first Ebola case diagnosed in the USA was woefully ill-equipped to handle the disease. The fact that the Liberian man who showed up at the hospital was (a) black and (b) without insurance led to his being sent home and told to “take Tylenol.”
When he showed up 4 days later, he was displaying more serious symptoms and so could not be denied care – but what sort of care did he receive? Obviously substandard.
In a recent press conference call put on by the national nurse’s union, National Nurses United, RoseAnn DeMoro, the director of the group, said: “Our nurses are not protected, they’re not prepared to handle Ebola or any other pandemics … The protocols that should have been in place in Dallas were not in place and are not in place anywhere in the United States, as far as we can tell.”
Now 70+ nurses and other healthcare workers have been added to the possible Dallas outbreak. Worst of all, the nurses that handled the Liberian patient, even while he was vomiting and had diarrhea, were then allowed to care for other patients in the facility!
The Dallas nurses themselves, who had asked that their statement be read aloud by DeMoro, could not speak to the press directly as they had been told they would be fired. This is because the nurses from the Dallas hospital were not union members, but turned to the union as they had nowhere else to go (maybe now they will reconsider unionizing).
Welcome to Red-State America, where bothersome “regulations” have been done away with, and the health care system is designed to make a profit rather than care for people.
Hospitals in the US are under pressure to make a profit, and so it is only natural that corners will be cut, and staffing held to a minimum, and training and other preparatory programs are ignored in order to hold down costs. And the CDC has no authority to make any hospitals comply with the proper procedures – it is up to each facility to decide how much they will do – how much they can afford to do – to protect patients and workers from Ebola.
But hey – Americans don’t trust Washington, right? The Government can’t do anything. Sean Hannity even refused to cover a CDC press conference because, he said, “I don’t trust them.” Yes, they work for that black Muslim communist in the White House, so they must have an agenda.
We all know that Red State Americans have problems with Science – from Evolution to Climate Change – so why should it be different now? These yahoos are no different than the villagers in West Africa who refused to allow government and NGO doctors to treat them, who actually attacked aid workers, because “they did not trust them” and because Science was such a foreign concept in their society. Germ theory is mumbo jumbo to them. They do not believe in something they cannot see. Sound familiar? It should – I am sure that many Tea Partiers believe the same thing when it comes to greenhouse gases and any of the myriad fracking chemicals now leeching into America’s drinking water.
When it comes to terrorism, Americans do seem to agree that the Government should protect them, and that the Federal Government should spend “whatever it takes” to keep Americans safe. The US has spent TRILLIONS fighting foreign wars to “stop terrorism”. This money was spent even while an average American has only a 1 in 20 million chance of dying by terrorist attack. The odds are much better that you will die of heart disease (1 in 500) or by gunshot (1 in 25,000), but things like better health care and more gun control are now anathema to Americans.
The NIH (National Institutes of Health) have been working on an Ebola vaccine since 2001, but it will come as no surprise to note that they had the NIH has been underfunded over the past decade, to where the Director of the NIH says that they are now 2 years behind where they should be (thanks, Sequestration!).
Will there be outrage? Will people step up and demand that their Government protect them from health threats? We’ll have to wait and see. One thing is for sure, a disease like Ebola is a great equalizer. There has been much talk about “income inequality” in America 0 the gap between rich and poor. If there is an outbreak of Ebola on a grand scale in the US (and I think this likely), then it will cut across economic lines. Will we see the wealthy start to mow their own lawns and care for their own children?
When it comes to disease and health, we are all in it together – despite what the Right may say. And “the best health care system in the world” is nothing but a lie and a sham when only a precious few can afford to use it.
The great English poet John Dunne said it best: “no man is an island.” He was, of course, writing about the Black Plague, where the bodies of the dead were brought out to the tolling of bells. “Ask not for whom the bell tolls,” Dunne admonished, “it tolls for thee.”
Wouldn’t it be great if Americans could claw their way up to that 16th century level of enlightenment?
No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
well as any manner of thy friends or of thine
own were; any man’s death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.