My questions about our ebola preparedness prompted a call from Dr. George Flinn.
“We have no plans,” Flinn said. “We don’t know what to do. We’re not ready. We better be fast on this because it’s just a matter of time before we get our first patient.
“I trained with the CDC,” Flinn continued. “What they’re not saying is scary. The people in Dallas say they followed protocol. It happened at the premier hospital there, too.”
Flinn said that from what he has been reading, ebola might very well be contracted through airborne contact. “They say they followed protocol and now we have a second nurse. They also say it has an incubation period of 21 days, but how do they know whether the virus lies dormant? What if it’s 40 days, 60 days?”
“I don’t want to start a panic – and the media doesn’t want to either – but we don’t have the crisis leadership in place. Remember the yellow fever?” Saying that we lacked leadership then, too, Flinn commented, “we didn’t do too well with that.”
He also commented on the cost of all this. “Hazmat suits are $500 apiece. Once they’re used, they have to be thrown away. We have no way to pay for all these isolation suits. And we can’t dispose of the waste easily either.”
Flinn argues that the government should “cut off all flights to West Africa. We can’t fight two wars at once. We can send people in, as we are with 3,000 troops, but we can stop them from coming here. Second, we need heavy screening at airports.”
Flinn also worries about the people who survive ebola. What problems will follow them later in life? We don’t know. And how will we protect our troops, who know less about medical protocol than the nurses and doctors at hospitals like the one in Dallas.
Other doctors at local hospitals are concerned, too, he said. Hospitals don’t know what to do. Nor do our elected leaders.
It’s not a good prognosis.