PRMC Sheds Light on Ebola Preparation - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

PRMC Sheds Light on Ebola Preparation

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SALISBURY, Md. - As the fear of the ebola virus grows nationwide, Delmarva's largest hospital pulled back its curtain to give a look at how staff are being prepared to handle a possible ebola patient.

If someone suspected of having Ebola were to talk into Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury, there are immediate steps that would be taken.

"We need to place a patient immediately upon having positive travel history and also symptomatology of the ebola disease in isolation.  We've actually made the decision to put the patient in a negative pressure room," said Mary Beth D'Amico, the Chief Nursing Officer for PRMC.

There are over 30 of the negative pressure rooms available for isolation.  Negative pressure rooms do not allow air out of the room and into the rest of the hospital.  The next step would be the care of the patient that would include all of the necessary protective equipment.  Hospital officials say they would staff two nurses to take care of a single ebola patient, meaning those two nurses would be required to wear all of the equipment necessary to stay safe.  While those two nurses would be wearing the gear, PRMC officials said people throughout the organization are being trained on how to properly put on, take off and dispose of the gear once it comes into contact with an ebola patient.

And disposing of that equipment properly is a high priority, particularly after so many voiced concerns over the lack of protocol in disposing of the ebola protective gear at the Dallas hospital which treated the first U.S. ebola patient.

"We have to treat that as a category one medical waste and so there are ways to store that in containers that are air tight. So we would discard all products, all equipment that came into contact with the patient," said D'Amico.

However, even with all the standards and procedures in place, an anonymous health care provider at PRMC told WBOC this week that they still did not feel as though they were prepared enough to handle an ebola patient.

"I think a certain amount of anxiety as health care providers, as we take care of patients with an infectious disease, is really to be expected.  I do think one of the things we replace that with and one of the things we strive to do is let our staff know what we are doing," said D'Amico.

PRMC officials tell WBOC they have a conference call every day with the CDC and thousands of hospitals across the nation to get the latest information on the virus and how their staff should be trained.  At this time, hospital officials believe they are as ready as they can be for any possible ebola patient at PRMC.
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