AP investigation: US hospitals nowhere near ready for Ebola

Sunday, November 2, 2014
By Paul Martin

by: Jonathan Benson
Sunday, November 02, 2014

Should pockets of Ebola suddenly begin to break out across the U.S., hospitals and acute care facilities would be quickly overwhelmed and unable to handle the massive influx of patients and those who believe that they might have the disease. An Associated Press (AP) investigation found that, generally speaking, the American healthcare infrastructure would likely collapse in the event of even a moderate Ebola outbreak, stressing the need for better preparedness.

Reporters from the AP conducted surveys to assess the sentiment among healthcare workers about how prepared their hospitals are for Ebola, and how they personally feel about the disease. Most emphasized worry about how an outbreak would be handled, especially due to the fact that many hospitals and emergency rooms are already struggling with capacity issues in day-to-day care situations, or they lack of proper training about how to handle deadly viruses.

As expected, many medical workers also say they would likely avoid treating Ebola patients for their own safety. Several nurses and a handful of American doctors working abroad have reportedly contracted Ebola within the past several months, despite wearing the recommended safety equipment. This is a major concern in the medical field, as frontline caretakers consider their overall risk of becoming infected.

“Even though there have been only a couple cases [of Ebola], many health systems are already overwhelmed,” said Dr. Kenrad Nelson, a professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and former president of the American Epidemiological Society, to the AP.

75% of emergency doctors, 80% of infection specialists say facilities unprepared to deal with Ebola

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