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Letter: We must do better job to stop spread of Ebola

We must do better job to stop spread of Ebola

It is only a matter of time until our area has to deal with the discovery that one among us has contracted the deadly Ebola virus or some other infectious disease that threatens the community. The events of the past weeks in Dallas should serve as a stark notice that the only way to effectively deal with an infectious disease and to prevent its spread is to identify and quarantine any and all possible carriers before they can infect others. Let’s start by closing entry into the country from those countries that are in the midst of an epidemic and placing people in quarantine until it is determined they are virus-free.

In Dallas we are witnessing how lax and reckless choices on the part of individuals and health care professionals, who are the first line of defense, bear a responsibility for what should have been a case of identifying and containing the virus in its earliest stages. The hospital workers who paid no attention to the symptoms the first victim presented and sent him home – exposing an unknown number of others along his path, including the nurses who were treating him – must be held responsible. Two of these registered nurses contracted the virus and have been relocated to other facilities that specialize in treating infectious viral disease.

The first nurse followed a self-quarantine and is reported to be improving. The second nurse chose to ignore that she was in a high-risk category and traveled to Cleveland for the weekend, exposing an untold number of people she had contact with. She should lose her license and be barred from patient care for acting with depraved indifference. As a licensed health care professional, she should know better.

These failures at the hospital and the lack of professional standards by the staff did not occur in a vacuum. They are part of a larger problem. As a community on an international border, our lives depend on our local, state and federal agencies maintaining a high state of preparedness. Let’s not be another Dallas.

Ed Gentner