18 October 2014
Say you’re a nurse taking temperatures for a guy who’s been potentially exposed to ebola and is quarantined at home.
You’d expect that there would be at least minimal safety precautions, right?
Taylor reports:> Taylor Cole questioned the health protocol of the nurse who visits him. “She didn’t have gloves on.”
If you’re not supposed to be within three feet of other people, as Taylor and Axl were advised, gloves seem sensible precautions. Every nurse knows how to remove gloves so they don’t contaminate their hands.
I get that it’s very unlikely that Taylor and Axl have ebola, and some people may feel they’re taking precautions to extremes.
I view it this way: they don’t want to spread it if they have it and they’re ensuring that they can’t.
The nurse, on the other hand…. When I went to the ER, the nurse didn’t use gloves to take my temperature, but my risk profile was different.
True, I didn’t happen to mention having been jumped on by wild Gibraltar Barbary macaques 17 days earlier. (Ebola Reston involved macaques.) None of the Gibraltar macaques were known to be infected, nor had I traveled to Africa. Just to one of the closest points in Europe.
Also, the nurse did use gloves any time direct touch of my skin was involved, e.g., when inserting an IV, when giving me pain meds, etc.
Axl’s Oct 16 update.
When asked about who he blamed, he wrote a long post. Here are two quotes:
So in the end, no one is to blame. We can only take responsibility. I for one want to take responsibility for what has happened. Every single passenger that boarded flight 1143 played a part in that moment taking place. Now we get to play our part in trying to minimize the repercussions of possibly being infected. […]
As communities, this is the best thing we can do. Rather than fighting a problem, we’re finding a solution. I can only encourage others to do the same. If we as a people weren’t so concerned with blame and held solutions as a higher priority our politicians might hold those same priorities. Rather than worrying about covering their backs, they would be looking to create a better future for all.
This is a good post.…but it does overlook a few points.
Among the most offensive errors in the media during my uncle’s illness are the accusations that he knew he was exposed to Ebola; that is just not true. He lived in a careful manner, as he understood the dangers of living in Liberia amid this outbreak. He limited guests in his home; he did not share drinking cups or eating utensils.
And while the stories of my uncle helping a pregnant woman with Ebola are courageous, Thomas Eric personally told me that never happened. Like hundreds of thousands of West Africans, carefully avoiding Ebola was part of my uncle’s daily life.
And I can tell you with 100 percent certainty: Thomas Eric would have never knowingly exposed anyone to this illness.
So, without that narrative, we really don’t know how Mr. Duncan was exposed or what happened. We’ve all lived with the comfort that that can’t be us because we “know” what happened.
Dr. Gunter’s right: ebola’s not easy to catch. However, were I in Axl and Taylor’s position, I think I’d be as careful as they are.