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The Catalyst

MUSC monitors evolving Ebola situation, talks continue

By Helen Adams
Public Relations

Medical Center Executive Director and CEO Dr. Patrick Cawley joins DHEC Director Catherine Templeton, left, and Dr. Danielle Scheurer, medical director of quality, as they discuss Ebola preparedness at an Oct. 16 news conference held at MUSC. For continuing coverage on Ebola and to watch the MUSC press conference visit the MUSC News Center at photo by Sarah Pack, Public Relations

New guidelines for hospital workers treating Ebola patients mark the latest development in an evolving situation that MUSC is monitoring closely.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued the new recommendations on Oct. 20. They include more detail than the previous guidelines, including the suggestion that no skin be left uncovered and a call for supervisors to watch every step as hospital workers put on and take off equipment to prevent mistakes.

Governor’s Ebola roundtable
That same day, leaders from MUSC took part in Governor Nikki Haley’s roundtable discussion on Ebola. The MUSC contingent included Patrick Cawley, M.D., chief executive officer of MUSC’s medical center and vice president for clinical operations; Rick Nolte, Ph.D., director of clinical laboratories at MUSC; and Danielle Scheurer, M.D., director of quality for the medical center. They joined medical, safety and political experts from around the state in Columbia.

Cawley was encouraged by what he heard.

“It is clear that South Carolina and its major regional referral medical centers are well prepared and developing further capabilities,” Cawley said.

“From MUSC’s point of view, I stressed the different types of training needed at different levels of the health care system,” Cawley said. “I also pointed out the importance of maintaining an ‘all volunteer’ clinical care team, which we have at each of the regional medical centers, including MUSC.”

Haley called the risk of Ebola in South Carolina “very low.”

The roundtable was the latest in a series of discussions about Ebola preparedness in South Carolina. Last week, the state director of the Department of Health and Environmental Control thanked MUSC at a news conference for being “ready, willing and able to receive a patient sick with Ebola should we need them in South Carolina.”

MUSC preparations
That readiness involves preparing people and resources — an undertaking infectious disease experts and MUSC leaders have been involved with for weeks.

They have compiled a list of nurses, doctors and other employees who have volunteered to treat Ebola patients if needed. They plan to put the volunteers on specialized teams with two intensive care nurses, one physician and one respiratory therapist per patient per shift.

They have also carefully documented what resources would be needed at MUSC and made sure they are available.

Those resources include: 10 Isopods, which are enclosed stretchers used to safely move patients with infectious diseases; a flight team experienced in transporting people who are critically ill; a surgical trauma intensive care unit that has been designated as an Ebola treatment area if needed; a company prepared to handle 8 to 10, 55–gallon drums of waste per day; and outside contractor to handle cleaning.

October 23, 2014



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