On Ebola, Bellevue takes the lead

Once again, New York City’s flagship public hospital is taking the lead to care for New York.
Bellevue has instituted model procedures to prepare for Ebola. Bellevue has had an ongoing and consistent protocol, including hands-on training and drills for healthcare staff, and an optimal isolation unit to treat patients.

Here’s what The New York Times had to say:

“New York’s premier public hospital will become a center for treatment of the Ebola virus in the city, hospital and city officials said on Tuesday, amid widespread concerns that the disease may not be so easily contained by every hospital that has an isolation unit. Bellevue Hospital Center, the country’s oldest public hospital, would receive any confirmed Ebola cases within the 11-member public hospital system, a Bellevue spokesman said. It would also be available to receive transfers from private hospitals in the city.”

Read the full New York Times article here.
Compare that to Spain, where years of austerity and budget cuts hurt the country’s ability to respond to Ebola:

MADRID — The scene conveyed a First World precision: A 75-year-old Spanish priest, stricken with Ebola in Liberia, arrived in Madrid on a special military jet. A helicopter buzzed overhead as ambulances transported him for treatment. Expressing confidence in the preparations, a Spanish health official said the risk of the virus’s spreading was “virtually nil.”

There was just one problem: the city’s infectious disease center had been mostly dismantled as part of a government cost-cutting plan, and a temporary Ebola ward would have to be hurriedly constructed.

Read the rest of the New York Times’ article.
In New York City, we’re lucky to have a strong public hospital system. Too many private hospitals have put the bottom line before preparedness. It’s time to heal the cuts and make serious preparation to safeguard our patients. NYSNA is advocating safe Ebola protocols that every hospital should adopt; read more here.