Heartland hospitals prep for threat of ebola

Heartland hospitals prep for threat of ebola

SIKESTON, MO (KFVS) - As more cases of Ebola show up in the United States, infection control practitioners in the Heartland prep for the threat of patients contracting the disease in this area.

In her 14 years at Missouri Delta Medical Center in Sikeston, practitioner Joy Cauthron said infectious diseases are not new.

"Just in the last ten years or 12 years we've had to deal with anthrax," Cauthorn said. "We've had to deal with SARS. We've had to deal with H1N1 influenza. We've had to deal with the pandemic flu."

Cauthorn said the Ebola virus has been around for decades, however, now that it is in the U.S. it is a different situation.

"This virus is just so deadly in Africa that people are afraid," Cauthorn said.

Cauthorn said they've developed a strategic policy in case anyone were to walk through their doors with the virus.

The hospital is implementing new recommendations from the Centers For Disease Control and adapting them to what resources they have on hand.

One of the main focuses for her team of doctors is to make sure they are fully protected, which means making sure no skin or mucas membranes are showing.

"Hospitals are a place of healing and we have strong infection control practices," Cauthorn said. "...we have to tweak those at times depending on the nature of the virus or bacteria or condition that we are treating. To me it's always better that we overprotect than under protect and that's the basis of keeping them safe."

Cauthorn said some of the precautions the hospital is implementing include having a trained observer who can watch as doctors put on and take off their protective gear.

Cauthorn said it's during that process that health care workers have been getting sick.

The hospital has also designated certain isolation areas and will be training the entire hospital staff on what to do if they have to treat a patient with the virus.

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