National Nurses United claims "protocol breach" is really "nurse blaming" in Ebola case

National Nurses United claims "protocol breach" is really "nurse blaming" in Ebola case

Director of the Centers for Disease Control Dr. Tom Frieden said a clear breach in protocol lead to a Dallas nurse getting infected with Ebola.

"According to the nurse, she did not do anything wrong, she followed everything she needed to follow," said Zenei Cortez, VP of National Nurses United.

Though the CDC hasn't said what the breach may have been, Cortez said she is afraid the CDC is making it seem like it's the nurses fault.

"It's very easy to blame the nurse, right? It's very easy. And that happens all the time. Nurses are blamed for everything," said Cortez.

Catherine Lopez, PhD, an assistant Dean at the LSUHSC's school of Nursing, said it's too early to jump to that conclusion, but it is important to revisit the process in order to protect nurses.

"I think a breach in protocol is a simple statement by the CDC - something didn't go right - so take the step back, where was the breach, what happened? How do we prevent the breach again?" said Catherine Lopez.

Until that question is answered, the CDC said they'll continue monitoring everyone who came in contact with the nurse and the patient she treated, Thomas Eric Duncan, who was the first person to die of Ebola in the United States.

"If this individual was infected, and we don't know how within the isolation unit, then it is possible that other individuals could be infected as well. So, we consider them to be potentially at risk," Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the CDC.

As for LSUHSC nurses, Lopez said, starting in the first semester of LSU Health nursing school students learn how to put on Personal Protective Gear, from gloves, to gowns and masks.

"If it doesn't cover you, then you need to put two on. You really do need to make sure the equipment fits properly," said Lopez. "Everybody in hospitals as well as our students have been tested to make sure that the mask fit appropriately, they have the appropriate size."

The CDC suggests other protocols for hospitals and clinics be reevaluated to ensure every emergency room can isolate a potential Ebola patient.

"We have to rethink the way we address Ebola infection control because even a single infection is unacceptable," said Frieden.

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